WITTON Albion’s three-year stay in the Northern Premier League’s top flight is over after a 3-2 defeat at Stamford on Saturday left them in the Premier Division table’s bottom four.

The result was a fifth loss from their final six matches, and led to Tony Sullivan resigning from his position as manager in the minutes following the final whistle.

Chairman Mark Harris warned that the financial impact of relegation for the second time in only six years could be ‘catastrophic’.

“I’m too devastated for words,” he said.

“This season changed course on the opening day when Brian Pritchard told me he wanted to resign.

“That’s before a ball was even kicked.

“It makes you wonder if sometimes things that happen are written in the stars.”

Albion, who needed a draw to condemn their hosts to the drop, led 2-0 by the interval thanks to goals from Sam Barnes and Liam Goulding.

Stamford’s players were then booed by their own supporters as they left the field.

They had never previously won a league game at their new Zeeco Stadium home.

But the contest changed from the moment Zac Corbett tripped Jon Challinor to concede a penalty converted by Ryan Robbins.

Tom McGowan then scored twice inside an eight-minute spell to secure a victory for his side that preserves their Premier Division status for another season.

Sullivan became Witton’s third manager of the campaign in October following Anthony Sheehan’s departure.

The latter had replaced Pritchard, who quit after four fixtures, on a permanent basis the previous month.

Albion lost their first seven games under the 40-year-old, part of a record sequence of 12 successive reverses that left them penultimate-last in the table.

They climbed to 15th following a 3-2 win against Rushall on March 24, but collected only one more point.

The club must now wait to discover if they will play in Division One North, their preference, or Division One South next season.

When they were demoted under Gary Finley in 2009, the FA’s Leagues Committee placed them in the latter.