Steve Kinniburgh admitted he “learned a lot” about his Corby Town squad after they suffered a 3-2 defeat at Didcot Town.
The Steelmen were seemingly on course for a fourth win in a row in the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central after Jordon Crawford had given them a first-half lead.
But Corby capitulated at the start of the second period, conceding three goals in 17 minutes.
Connor Kennedy pulled one back late on but they were unable to rescue a point.
Corby now sit three points behind leaders Bromsgrove Sporting and second-placed Peterborough Sports and Kinniburgh said: “We came out in the second half with the wrong mentality and we lost a goal 30 seconds after half-time, we never got ourselves going at all.
“We have spoken a lot about being mentally strong but it went back to where it was for a spell earlier in the season.
“I have learned a lot about the squad from what has happened.
“You learn things about your players in every game but particularly when you suffer a defeat.
“We have had 22 competitive games, including the FA competitions, and I think I have learned a lot and got a real understanding of who is in it for the fight.
“And I learned even more from what I saw in this game.
“So now it’s my job to make sure that we have the right players and squad in place for a title fight.
“We have put ourselves in that position and it doesn’t change after a defeat. But we have got to be up for the fight and on this occasion, we weren’t.”
The Steelmen head to Welwyn Garden City for their final game before Christmas next Saturday.