Met Police 1 Merstham 0
Metropolitan Police claimed promotion by the narrowest of margins on a dramatic final day of the Ryman League Division One South season.
The Blues 1-0 win left them level on points with Bognor Regis, who could only draw 1-1 at Chatham Town, but with a superior goal difference of just one goal.
Even the Police kit manager strode up the touchline playing his bagpipes in celebration of automatic promotion while Bognor now go into the play-offs.
The Blues, play-off losers in three of the past four seasons, avoided the end-of-season contest after bagging a 66th minute winner.
After the assistant referee flagged for a disputed foul, Chris O'Flaherty fired a 25-yard free kick into the top corner.
Merstham’s manager Andy Martin was then sent off from the dugout by the referee followed soon afterwards by Merstham’s midfielder Adam Broomhead for his second yellow card for dissent.
Mertsham had been the better side and had they taken advantage of all the scoring opportunities they created they could have won.
The Police rode their luck, defended valiantly and will be playing finally in a higher division next season.
The spectators in the meantime had a very entertaining match to watch.
Police striker Eddie Smith could have found the net after one minute but his volley was just over the bar.
Then visitors striker Omar Foukes saw a six-yard shot deflected by a defender but Blues keeper Mo Maan changed direction in mid air and saved with his trailing leg.
Maan had to make a couple more good saves and when he was finally beaten by Broomhead's header, the ball was diverted onto the far post by a Blues defender.
In the second half O’Flaherty sent over a long cross into the Merstham goal area, but three Blues players missed the ball and it went out for a goal kick.
Broomhead missed the target again in the 55th minute from just four yards.
Police Manager Jim Cooper used all three substitutes in the second half.
Carl Wilson-Dennis, with almos his first kick, could have put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time when he evaded a couple of tackles on a 30-yard run.
But, with keeper Ian Chatfield stranded in no-man's land, Wilson-Denis chose to lob and the ball went inches over.
With their last attack, Merstham launched a long cross but Dean Gummer fired wide from three yards.
Met Police: Maan, Noakes (Simpson), Bourne, Manners, Sutherland, Greenaway, O’Flaherty, Lampton, Watkins, Smith E (Field), Hickie (Wilson-Dennis).
Top scorer Craig Watkins was named both as the supporters' and players' player of the year.