Sutton United manager Paul Doswell was honest in defeat after the U’s missed out on the chance of going to Wembley losing 3-2 at home to Boreham Wood on Sunday.

The U’s have to reflect on what might have been after a lacklustre first hour in oppressive heat allowed the visitors to open a two-goal lead.

Although United rallied in the latter stages, the damage had been done and Wood progressed to the play-off final at Wembley Stadium against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

“We had every advantage going for us,” Doswell told SUFCtv.

“They played on Thursday night, they lost two or three of their best players and we had a big home crowd behind us but we didn’t take advantage of it and that’ll be a regret during the summer.

“But I will reflect on it and the disappointment will stick with me for a while because I wanted it for the club, the volunteers, supporters, staff and players. We deserved to keep going for one more week.”

The U’s were made to pay for a rather nervous first half display when Angelo Balanta fired low past Jamie Butler in the 42nd minute to give the visitors a half-time lead.

United upped their game in the second half but it wasn’t until Wood went further ahead through a Ross Lafayette own goal in the 54th minute that Doswell’s men really started to play the type of football that has served them so well all season.

The crowd of 2,730 were given something to cheer about when Tom Bolarinwa reduced the arrears with a close-range header on 82 minutes.

However, joy turned to despair six minutes later when Wood restored their two-goal lead.

Michael Folivi bundled the ball into the net after Bruno Andrade’s 30-yard free kick had rattled the crossbar with a seemingly static home defence slow to react.

Sutton still weren’t finished. Two minutes into injury time Lafayette set up a grandstand finish with a powerful header into the corner of the net.

And the Sutton striker almost snatched an unlikely leveller at the death but his snap-shot was saved excellently at point-blank range by Wood goalkeeper Grant Smith.

“We’ve got to give a lot of credit to Boreham Wood,” said a magnanimous Doswell.

“They won under difficult circumstances. They were the better team, they were sharper than us and they deserved their win.

“While we gave it a real good go over the last 20 minutes, that papered over the cracks.

“I know people might not want to hear this but it’s a bittersweet moment for me.

"The bitterness of losing, but the sweet bit is we get to keep the community model here next year. I am just being honest.

“I think this club has grown brilliantly over the last three or four years and that’s on the back of having a fantastic facility here.

“And it would have bothered me had we gone up, because we’re not ready for League 2, but what we are is a very good National League side.

“We should reflect on what has been another fantastic season for this football club.

"It’s been the highest we’ve ever finished in our league history and that’s something that can’t ever be taken away from us."