Eastbourne United’s Wembley dream is over after they lost 4-2 at home to Sholing in their FA Vase semi-final second leg at The Oval.
A poor first-half cost United dear as they trailed 3-0 at the break in front of a crowd of 1,426.
They rallied after the interval but could not prevent a 6-4 defeat on aggregate.
United were without Ryan McBride due to a suspension which manager Simon Rowland had tried to keep from his opponents.
McBride had produced an excellent display in the 2-2 draw at Sholing a week earlier and his absence was sorely felt.
The visitors went ahead after just five minutes when a Tyrone Bowers corner was headed into his own net by Joe Dryer under pressure from Mark Diaper.
It was a half the visitors went on to dominate, going 2-0 ahead on 26 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area by Mike Carter which goalkeeper Grant Young should have done better with.
Barry Mason fired over the top on the run and Young saved well from Lee Wort before Sholing went 3-0 ahead four minutes before the interval when the hosts failed to clear and Byron Mason drilled low into the far corner.
United made a change at half-time and substitute Jason Taylor went down under challenge from keeper Matt Brown within five minutes of the restart but referee Gavin Ward waved away the penalty appeals.
On 57 minutes United pulled a goal back when Matt Maclean headed home from close range after Jack Divall headed a Tate cross back across the face of goal.
Sholing had the ball in the net again on 64 minutes but Pete Castle’s header from Marc Diaper’s free-kick was ruled out for offside.
The hosts reduced the deficit further on 67 minutes when a tame Ashley Robinson free-kick was blocked, Tate drilled a tremendous shot goalwards which was blocked but Jamie Crellin poked the ball home from close range.
United now had belief but an equaliser proved beyond them and instead Sholing wrapped up victory in the 89th minute when substitute Nick Watts fired home after a Lee Wort shot was blocked.