Marcus Law admitted Kettering Town were “characterless” at times as they slumped to a third defeat in a row last night (Tuesday).
The Poppies were well beaten 3-0 at promotion-chasing Leamington as their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign begins to peter out.
The latest setback left Kettering a massive 14 points off the play-off places with just eight games remaining.
And Law said: “It was quite a frustrating night and I think the players played with frustration.
“We didn’t carry things out correctly and that was disappointing because we started in the ascendancy.
“But the first time the ball came into our 18-yard box from a set-piece, they scored from it and that really summed up our problems recently.
“Injuries and circumstances which led to the likes of Dom Langdon and Paul Malone not being fit and Brett Solkhon not being quite right to start meant we lacked height and we were always going to struggle with the aerial threat.
“All three goals came from set-piece situations and that was very frustrating.
“They deserved the result, we didn’t really force their goalkeeper into any real saves and it was a tough night for our front three.
“There was a lack of quality going into them and there were times when we were characterless.”
The one bright note for Kettering was a full league debut for academy product Jack O’Connor who played at centre-half.
And Law added: “That was only real positive for us, I thought Jack grew into the game.
“It was a very tough test for him because he is not the biggest of lads.
“But I thought he did really well and I am really pleased with how far he has come.”
The Poppies are back in action on Saturday when they host St Ives Town at Latimer Park.