Andy Peaks was left disappointed after AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ play-off hopes suffered another setback at the Dog & Duck last night (Tuesday).
Diamonds were beaten 2-0 by fellow contenders Stocksbridge Park Steels, who leapfrogged Peaks’ team to move into the top five in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South.
The defeat has left Diamonds two points behind Stocksbridge and fourth-placed Basford United with three games to go.
But their clash with another of their rivals, Newcastle Town, on Saturday is their game in hand on Basford and Peaks is pleased things still remain in his team’s hands.
“It was obviously a disappointing result,” Peaks said.
“They have scored from two set-pieces and then they defended very well after that.
“We had a couple of good chances towards the end but our own set-piece delivery was particularly poor and that gives us something to work on ahead of the weekend.
“I didn’t think the performance was particularly bad and we obviously had a few changes that we had to make, which made it a bit more difficult for us.
“Saturday now becomes the biggest game of our season.
“But I go back to what I have said before and if you had given me a situation where, with three games left our fate is still in our own hands then I would have taken it.”
Diamonds went into the game without influential defender Liam Dolman, who missed out due to a calf injury.