Stevenage manager Graham Westley hailed a "sensational achievement" from his side after they gained promotion into the third tier of English football with victory over Torquay in the npower League Two play-off final at Old Trafford.
John Mousinho's superb 20-yard strike in the 41st minute ensured last season's Blue Square Premier champions secured a second successive promotion in their first year as a Football League club.
"It's a fantastic feeling. A league championship is special, but when you win a play-off final it is great," Westley said. "Any Saturday when you win a game, whether it's three points or a promotion, it feels fantastic but it was doubled, trebled and quadrupled out there."
He added: "I've never underestimated the players that I've got, but we always knew it was going to be a tall order to win promotion this year and it's a massive credit to them. To be at a small club with small resources and push on into League One is a sensational achievement. They were 18th in January so it shows just what a big leap it was.
"The players have kept their confidence, they have kept their work ethic, togetherness and spirit and they have gone on to show what those things can give you."
Stevenage thoroughly deserved their half-time lead, but had to withstand heavy pressure after the interval as Torquay rallied.
"To coin a cliche, it was very much a game of two halves," Westley continued. "I thought we had by far the better of the first half, the better of the chances and I thought we deserved to go in ahead. But in the second half, you have to say they worked the ball very well and made it really difficult for us."
Torquay boss Paul Buckle felt his side were unfortunate to suffer defeat after their improved second-half display.
"Taking nothing away from Stevenage - and first of all I must congratulate them as the winners today - I honestly thought we were the better team," he said. "I think we created the better chances, we are normally a lot more efficient in front of goal than we were today, but I can't blame the players for that. I thought we played well, but you need a bit of luck.
"We kept creating chances we hit the bar, we were on top, we stretched them time and time again, but we couldn't get through and sometimes that happens."
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