LUKE YOUNG described scooping back-to-back Player of the Season awards as “bittersweet” after Wrexham’s promotion challenge came to an end.

Wrexham went into Saturday’s final day showdown at Dagenham and Redbridge knowing that victory would guarantee a play-off place but a 1-1 draw, coupled with results elsewhere, meant the Reds failed to finish in the top seven.

Young, leading scorer with 11 goals, was voted as the best player this season by supporters and he also received the gong for 2019-20 when he was a stand-out performer before the campaign ended early because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But although proud to be the fourth double winner since the award was introduced in 1975, Young, who is out of contract this summer, says not making the play-offs has taken the shine off the accolades.

“I give everything that I can out on the pitch, every game and day in, day out in training,” said Young, who started every single league game in 2020-21.

“Sometimes I don’t have my best game but I will always work hard - that is a given no matter what.

“To get the award last season and this season means a lot to me, what the fans think of me.

“The fans have warmed to me over the three years that I have been here and whether it carries on or not, I will be thankful to everybody that voted for me and stuck by me.

“Being only the fourth player in history to win it back-to-back is a proud moment for me and my family.

"But it is a bitter sweet moment because of what happened on Saturday.”

Five clubs were battling it out for the two remaining spots but Wrexham, who started the day sixth in the National League, were unable to get the win they needed.

Dagenham took a deserved lead early in the second half and although the Reds, down to 10 men following the dismissal of Paul Rutherford, made a late rally and equalised through Jordan Ponticelli in the 90th minute, it was too little, too late.

“We knew going into the game that if we won, we would be in there no matter what,” said Young.

“We started okay but first half, we weren’t at it like we know we can be but we were still in the game.

“When you go down to 10 men it makes it hard but we stuck in there. We knew what we had to do and it was relayed from the side that we needed to score two goals to try and win the game.

“We gave ourselves a chance with that late goal and we could have snuck it at the end. We gave everything up until the final whistle.

“It is tough. The lads gave everything for the club, everything for each other and everything for themselves but ultimately we fell short at the end of the day and that is the disappointing thing.”