THEY say every vote counts and that certainly rang true in our manager-of-the-year non-league poll.

Your nominations gave us a shortlist of the five best bosses and then it was down to our readers to get voting.

The end result was incredibly close with the top two neck-and-neck.

Our worthy winner, eventually, was FC Clacton's Tom Austin.

Despite operating with a limited budget, it turned out to be a record-breaking campaign as his Seasiders finished sixth in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division - their best-ever finish - and managed a record 19 victories.

His efforts throughout the season drew plenty of admiring glances but in terms of the voting, it was a close-run thing.

Of the total 3,043 votes, Austin won by just 51 - scooping 1,181 compared to Heybridge Swifts boss Julian Dicks' 1,130.

That equated to 39 per cent, compared to 37.

If that poll was tense, the goalkeeper ballot was more clear-cut with Luca Collins proving the safest pair of hands, catching 38 per cent of the vote and 318 votes.

The highly-rated young shot-stopper has just joined Heybridge but it was his performances for Witham Town that caught the eye, playing a key role in helping the club stave off relegation and maintain their Bostik League status.

Along the way, he won the north division Golden Gloves award for December.

Coggeshall Town's Danny Sambridge was runner-up with 26 per cent and 216 votes.

Onto the full-back poll and it was another tussle, with two players hogging the bulk of the vote.

Our eventual winner was Joe Claridge, an eye-catching performer for Swifts in their highly-successful Bostik League season - a campaign that ended with play-off victory against neighbours Maldon and Tiptree.

Claridge enjoyed 36 per cent of the vote - 455 votes - but Clacton's Zach Smith-Walter was hot on his heels with 33 per cent (416 votes).

Every successful team needs a watertight defence and our leading centre-back is a true warrior and club legend - Little Oakley's Lewis Wood.

After emerging through the youth system, he has become a pivotal figure in the heart of their defence.

In addition to his defensive steel, he is also a regular scorer and has managed more than a century of goals during his time with the Acorns.

Jack Cawley was runner-up with an impressive 36 per cent of the vote and 772 votes.

The no-nonsense defender helped Wayne Brown's Maldon and Tiptree reach the Bostik League division north play-offs, having finished third, and has just joined Conference South side Concord Rangers.

Our midfielder poll promised to be an interesting one but, in the end, one player enjoyed a comfortable victory.

Clacton's Harry McDonald gleaned nearly half the vote (47 per cent), despite facing fierce competition, including team-mate Jack Clampin.

Buoyed by 468 votes, he had the edge on runner-up Jake Turner, who finished with 347 (35 per cent).

However, Brightlingsea's Turner can still be rightly proud of his highly-successful season, winning the supporters' player-of-the-year award, along with the players' player and manager’s player prizes.

Talking of Regent, there was little competition for our winger of the year... Aaron Condon.

The popular wide man, known for his spectacular goals, dribbled his way to a whopping 52 per cent of the vote and 265 votes.

It emphases once again what a big hole he will be to fill at Regent, having left at the end of the season to start a new life in Sussex.

Oakley's talented Luke Mayhew was second - our gallant runner-up with 21 per cent of vote, equating to 107 votes.

Last up we asked you to vote for your top striker.

The competition was fierce with a prolific pack featuring Karl Andrade and Adam Hampson (both Clacton), Billy Hunt (Brightlingsea), Nnamdi Nwachuku (Coggeshall Town) and George Smith (Coggeshall United).

The winner, with 36 per cent of the vote, was the prolific Smith - and rightly so, when you consider his explosive exploits for the Weavers.

He had an amazing season for the Thurlow Nunn League first division south runners-up, finding the back of the net no less than 31 times in 36 appearances.

In addition to being top scorer, he was also crowned both supporters' and players' player-of-the-year.

His goals helped the Weavers stay in the title hunt and have since earned him a move to eventual champions Hashtag United.

Hunt was second, with 25 per cent and Hampson third with 18.

So there you have it - a feast of top talent, seven very worthy winners and the cream of our semi-pro talent.

Congratulations to our winners and all who made the shortlists.

Here's to more eye-catching, headline-grabbing performances from our top non-league players next season!