Andy Peaks was frustrated again as AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central title hopes suffered a major blow.
Diamonds suffered a third successive 1-0 defeat as Simon Thomas’ goal ensured Royston Town leapfrogged them into third place.
With the top two - Kings Langley and Egham Town - both winning, Peaks’ men are now six points off the pace with just eight games remaining.
The Diamonds boss insisted his team’s performance “wasn’t particularly bad” but with no goals scored in their last three matches, the main issue is clear.
“It was pretty even and I always knew it was going to be a tight game,” Peaks said.
“I thought their goal was a bit fortunate but they have taken one of their chances and we didn’t.
“It’s fine margins for us at the moment. We have got to get out of the habit of losing games by the odd goal.
“We have conceded three goals in three games, two of which have been tough ones away, and we haven’t picked up any points. That tells us the problem.
“The performance wasn’t particularly bad. We certainly weren’t outclassed or outplayed.
“The effort was good and the shape was good. Our decision-making could have been better but there wasn’t a lot between the two teams.”
Diamonds handed debuts to Elliot Sandy and Jason Lee after they joined the club this week.
And Peaks is confident both will make big impacts during the remainder of the campaign.
“I thought they both did okay,” he added.
“Elliot will benefit from that time on the pitch, he needs to get a bit sharper and he will.
“Jason fitted in at left-back pretty well. Again, he hasn’t played in that position much this season but I thought he did well.
“They will both be massive players for us in the remainder of the season and I think our squad looks stronger than it did a week ago.”