There has been plenty of suggestion over the past few days that Kettering Town’s Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division season is as good as over.
The Poppies seemed to have gathered some momentum ahead of last weekend’s clash at second-placed Slough Town after three wins in a row.
But they were 3-0 down inside an hour at Arbour Park and, despite Aaron O’Connor and Rene Howe reducing the deficit late on, the 3-2 loss proved costly.
Kettering now find themselves 10 points behind fifth-placed Merthyr Town with less than half of the season to play.
It is a far cry from the pre-season expectations of a promotion challenge but the Poppies’ inconsistency and the fact they have been unable to beat any of the current top five in their matches against them so far had added up to a disappointing first few months of the campaign.
But boss Marcus Law isn’t about to give up hope just yet.
The Poppies are preparing to host King’s Lynn Town at Latimer Park on Boxing Day and the manager admits it will be the next six games that will decide whether their hopes of a late dash for the play-off places are over or not.
“The season is only over when everything is mathematically out of reach,” Law said.
“And while there is a chance we have to keep going.
“I can understand why some people are thinking that way because our form has been inconsistent and we have struggled against the teams above us.
“We need to start beating those teams and we need to maintain our form against the sides around us and below us because that has, in general, been pretty good.
“I think there will be a more definite answer to the question about our season at the end of January. Our next three matches are against teams below us and the three after that are against sides above us.
“By the time we play Frome at the end of next month, we will know whether the play-offs are still achievable.
“I think everyone knows we are capable of going on a good run.
“We have quality in the squad but we have got to make sure we cut out the defensive errors, which continue to cost us.”