Marcus Law felt the “small margins” went against Kettering Town as their unbeaten home record was ended by Evo-Stik South League Premier title favourites Hereford at Latimer Park last night (Tuesday).
The Poppies fell behind to an early Eliot Richards goal before Aaron O’Connor had an effort ruled out for offside.
John Mills capitalised on a defensive error to lob home Hereford’s second before half-time before O’Connor pulled one back after the break.
But Kettering’s hopes of a fightback were dashed when Brett Solkhon was sent-off for the first time in his Poppies career in his 498th appearance for the club and Mike Symons wrapped up the visitors’ victory, despite the hosts being adamant that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up .
The result has left the Poppies still sitting in second place in the table, three points adrift of leaders King’s Lynn Town while Hereford are now just three points behind Kettering with four games in hand.
And boss Law said: “When it comes to big games, you look at the small margins and they went against us all across the pitch.
“We weren’t happy with everything we did, far from it. I thought we showed fear in the first 10 minutes of the game and we made defensive errors.
“But the big decisions in the game didn’t go for us. Don’t get me wrong, we have won games where decisions have gone in our favour.
“But I think they are highlighted more in the bigger games and, unfortunately, they were key moments.
“We felt that Aaron was onside and if that goal had stood at that time then it might have unsettled them a bit and given us a spring in our step.
“And the players were adamant the ball crossed the line before their third goal and that effectively ended the game.
“We are disappointed to have lost. They are a very good side who are well organised and they have some excellent players but I thought it was a close game and chance-for-chance I thought we more than matched them.
“I certainly didn’t think we were outworked. But they took their chances while we had a couple cleared off the line and we hit the bar.”
Law, meanwhile, insists the Poppies can’t afford to dwell on their first home loss of the campaign.
They take on bottom side Dunstable Town at Latimer Park on Saturday before heading to St Neots Town on Boxing Day.
And Law added: “It is three points lost and that is all it is. I am not going to get carried away by this wave of thought that it is all over.
“We have to dust ourselves down and move on to the next game. We can’t afford to dwell on it.
“We are in the promotion mix, that’s a fact. We have to try to repeat what we have done in the first half of the season in the second half of it. And if we do that, then we will be right in the thick of things.”