Marcus Law admitted “inept defending” proved costly as Kettering Town’s hopes of a late push for the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off places all-but faded yesterday (Saturday).
After filling their followers with hope after an impressive 42 minutes that saw them lead 1-0 at leaders Leamington in midweek before a power failure saw the game abandoned, the Poppies found themselves 2-0 down after 15 minutes against high-flying Merthyr Town at Latimer Park.
Rene Howe pulled a goal back in the second half but the visitors seized on another defensive error to wrap up a 3-1 victory.
The defeat has the Poppies a huge 11 points behind fifth-placed Banbury United with 17 games to play with many now feeling their season is destined to finish in mid-table mediocrity, despite the expectations at the start being for a serious promotion push.
And Law admitted his team were again their “own worst enemy”.
“This was a six-pointer,” Law said.
“But we are our own worst enemy. Have Merthyr grafted for their chances? No. Have they grafted to make life difficult for us? Yes. And that’s how they’ve got their reward.
“It was inept defending. They’ve had a corner and a free header and then a throw-in where we haven’t tracked a runner.
“And then for the final one, after we feel like we have got back into the game, a sluggish back-pass has let them in.
“They did their job and got it done. We’ve caused the pressure on ourselves by allowing them two simple goals, which possibly came against the run of play after a bright start.
“I felt we started really well but we lacked a cutting edge or a direct shot.
“But this week has underlined the season we have had.”
The Poppies are back in action on Tuesday night when they have another home game against play-off chasing Frome Town.