Marcus Law wasted little time in looking to the future after Kettering Town’s final-day quest to sneak into the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-offs ended in disappointment.
The Poppies kept their end of the bargain by claiming a comprehensive 4-1 victory at Dorchester Town thanks to an own-goal, James Brighton, Rene Howe and Brett Solkhon.
But it wasn’t enough as Leamington held on to fifth place by just a point from Kettering after they shared a 0-0 draw with Hungerford Town.
But Poppies boss Law remained in a philosophical mood and admitted the pressure will now be on his squad to go one better once the new campaign gets under way in August.
“It was always going to be difficult to rely on other people and, from what I gather, Hungerford gave it their all but Leamington got the result they needed,” the Kettering manager said.
“We were never going to talk about what could happen but when the game was out of sight you could detect their heads were somewhere else.
“And rightly so to a certain degree because even I was asking what was going on up there.
“It was difficult mentally but good educationally for the youngsters.
“The age of the team is frightening and because we bring players in from elsewhere and people look at the name Kettering Town, no-one realises how young our squad is.
“It was a learning experience for them but they will have the pressure next season after going so close this time.
“This was the marker and it was always going to be the second year that we have to get out. We have shown we are more than capable in this league.”
The narrow margin that Kettering missed out by left plenty reflecting on the points that had been dropped, most notably a recent 1-0 home defeat to relegated Bedworth United.
But Law felt the fact his team lost 14 of their 46 league matches and drew just eight of them was a crucial factor.
“Over the season, if I am honest, we haven’t drawn enough games,” Law added.
“If we had halved our losses and turned them into draws it would be a different story. That’s something we need to look at as a group.
“But I feel I can build on this squad and I believe there will be exciting times for us.”