Thomas Baillie insists Kettering Town will “dust themselves down” and be ready for tomorrow’s (Monday) home clash with Hitchin Town after their season effectively came to a head at Frome Town.
The Poppies, who included former Peterborough United youth player and newest signing Jamie Fyffe in their starting line-up, took the lead through Will Muzvimbiri early in the second half.
But Frome hit back to claim a 3-1 success and the defeat means Kettering are down due to their inferior goal difference. Anything other than a victory against Hitchin will complete the formalities of their drop from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.
Baillie was left furious with a number of decisions from the referee at Frome but admitted Kettering were “their own worst enemy” as they slipped to their eighth defeat in 10 matches since he took over as manager.
But, despite the relegation now being confirmed without being official, he insists the players must carry on as the preparations for next season continue.
“It was a fairly even first half at Frome and then Will has tucked his goal away pretty well,” Baillie said.
“But for their first goal their lad has his arms all over our goalkeeper Michael Quirke and the referee has given nothing.
“To be honest, the referee concerned me because he seemed to know a lot of their players and every 50-50 decision went in their favour. We were up against it.
“But we don’t help ourselves. Henry Eze has got himself in the wrong position and then slid in to put the ball into his own top corner when there was no need to.
“It is all about mistakes and we make too many of them. Frome bullied our players and I don’t think some of the younger ones knew how to stand up for themselves.
“It is disappointing but we have to remember that there are people who thought this club was relegated in November when all the problems happened.
“The players we have here at the moment are not responsible for the position the club finds itself in.
“We have made that clear to them, it is not their fault. People forget that this club had a full-time team at the start of the season that didn’t win a game for two months.
“I think we have helped steady the ship but, of course, fans want to see their team doing well.
“So we will carry on. We will dust ourselves down and get on with it. We want to pick up points and wins before the end of the season.
“People can talk about relegation being official or unofficial but for a while now our thoughts have been about next season and the players have to show they want to play a part in the future.”
Tomorrow’s clash with Hitchin is at Corby Town’s Steel Park stadium and kicks-off at 3pm.