The stage was set for a party and Preston North End fans turned out in force - but in the end it was not to be.
The Sumners pub, on Watling Street Road, was packed with supporters urging the team on to victory - and automatic promotion to the Championship - yesterday.
A fun day for fans of all ages was supposed to end in celebrations but instead several supporters wound up drowning their sorrows as PNE slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Colchester United.
And while their opponents were busy celebrating a late winner that saved them from relegation, not even the prospect of trip to Wembley could cheer supporters in Preston.
“I’m gutted,” was the verdict from one inconsolable fan.
Megan Stammers, 21, from Fulwood, added: “They didn’t have the drive.
“They didn’t once look like they were eager enough for it.
“Colchester had the passion - PNE didn’t.”
But while the result, and the prospect of another play-off campaign, had soured the mood in the pub, her mum Helen, 47, said the football had not completely killed off the party spirit.
She said: “They were rubbish. I think they were scared.
“But we are going to my house now for my mum’s 80th birthday. So the party is not completely spoiled.”
James Malliband had been hoping to celebrate his 30th birthday in style but said he was determined not to let the result ruin his day.
He said: “It ws disappointing. Both teams wanted it but they wanted it more.
“We are used to the disappointment but I think they might do it this time around.”
Alan Crewe, 62, had popped into his local to watch the team he has supported for more than 50 years in the hopes of seeing them promoted.
After the match, he said: “I didn’t expect us to win. They were awful.
“I won’t be going to the play-offs - I think there’s no chance.
“Simon Grayson set out to stop them and hope we could score and I think he will just play defensive again.”
But other were slightly more optimistic about PNE’s chances of getting to Wembley and then to the Championship.
Tony Monk said: “We’re not bothered. We’re going to Wembley.
“I’ve not been to the new one yet, so I’m looking forward to going.
“I’ve not been to the old one since 1964.”
Pauline Doherty said the result was “a bit of a dampener” on the day.
She added: “We’ve been to so many play-offs. I would like to think we’re going to beat the odds and go up. I live in hope.”