Dean Thomas was disappointed that the same old problems came back to haunt already-relegated Kettering Town in their final home game of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division season.
The Poppies were beaten 3-1 by play-off chasing Gosport Borough at Steel Park as Will Muzvimbiri struck for the hosts after they had gone 2-0 down after an hour.
That goal gave the hosts hope but they were finished off by the visitors’ third goal six minutes from the end as they maintained their play-off hopes with what was a fairly comfortable victory.
And assistant-manager Thomas admitted his team got another “slap in the face” for conceding soft goals.
“I thought we were a bit flat in the first half and we looked leggy, tired and off the pace at times,” Thomas said.
“It was disappointing because we put the strongest side we could out there and we never really got started.
“We didn’t win the battles and when you play the better teams you have to do that, you have to go and contest the game.
“So at half-time we just said we wanted more effort and I thought we started to get a foothold in the second half but we get the slap in the face for giving away sloppy goals.
“Two balls over the top have cost us, we haven’t defended them very well. We have come back from being 2-0 down and showed a bit of passion and desire. Will took his goal well but just when the fans are on our side and we have the momentum, we conceded another sloppy goal.
“That is the story of the season, certainly since I have been here there has been a lot of naivety when it comes to the goals we have conceded.
“But we can’t ask anymore of the lads in terms of effort. They have given us everything and it is just unfortunate we can’t sustain a period of pressure and get a proper foothold in a game.
“It is a shame because we were better in the second half but they looked like a team with everything to play for whereas we didn’t at times.”
Thomas, meanwhile, admitted he was pleased to see the club’s ‘pay what you want’ initiative proved fruitful.
In a bid to boost their attendance, the Poppies invited fans to decide their own admission fees for the game and it resulted in a crowd of 568 - their biggest since moving to Corby Town’s stadium
And while Thomas was pleased to see the one-off work, he insists only a winning team in the future will help bring healthier crowds in on a regular basis.
“I thought it was a good idea and I know it was a way of trying to gauge what might happen with crowds for next season,” Thomas added.
“But fans will come and watch you if you are winning games of football and we have got to get back to being a winning club again.
“It was a wonderful turnout and a positive response. This club has a fantastic history and a good fanbase. Yes, there are a lot of politics involved at the moment but the club is still here and people are working hard to give it a good future.”