Farnham Town manager Paul Johnson praised his squad after they won the Combined Counties Premier Division South title in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

Second-placed Knaphill lost 2-1 at home to Balham, and Tadley Calleva lost 6-1 at AFC Croydon Athletic, which meant a draw at third-placed Jersey Bulls was enough for Farnham to seal the title with nine games to spare.

Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes because the referee arrived late, and Farnham looked like they would have to wait to be confirmed as champions after falling 2-0 behind in the first half.

However, two goals in the final 15 minutes rescued a point and led to scenes of celebration at the final whistle.

Farnham fell behind in the fifth minute when Lorne Bickley fired home. It was the first time Town had trailed in the league all season. Jersey doubled their advantage on 34 minutes when Jonny Le Quesne fired past Farnham keeper Pat Nash.

Substitute Kai Tanner – who came through Farnham’s youth system and returned to the club this season – gave Town hope when he bundled home from a corner in the 79th minute after a goalmouth scramble.

Max Meaton – who is in his tenth season at the club – scored the title-clinching goal five minutes from time when his wind-assisted cross caught out Jersey keeper Pierce Roche.

Farnham will play Step 4 football for the first time in the club’s 118-year history next season, and Johnson was full of praise for his title-winning squad.

“It’s a relief to get it done,” said Johnson. “Everyone has bought into what we’re trying to do – it’s been a real squad effort.

“It was almost written in the stars that we would win it on Saturday. With the kick-off being delayed we knew what was happening at Knaphill and knew what we needed to do. I was livid at half-time – I was fuming and I laid into the lads – but we managed to come back and get the point we needed.

“People make a lot about our budget, so it’s fitting that two local lads with big connections to Farnham scored the goals. If we can get past 100 points in the league and stay unbeaten throughout the season that would be a great achievement.

“We’re still in the Surrey Senior Cup and that’s important for us as it’s another chance to win silverware. We’ve already started planning for next season – we’re in a good position as we’ve already got a good squad.”