Steve Kinniburgh believes his Corby Town squad have some work to do on the psychological side of the game after they became the latest victims of runaway Evo-Stik League South leaders Basford United.
The Steelmen, who started the day in second spot, more than matched their unbeaten hosts for the majority of the opening half before Basford struck with two goals in as many minutes late in the first half.
The home side went on to complete a 4-0 victory to continue their relentless charge towards the title.
It all left Corby caretaker-manager Kinniburgh in a reflective mood.
“I thought we played well,” he said.
“The biggest part of the game is obviously defending your goal and scoring goals in the opposite box and they were better than us at that.
“And that is the fine margin between being a team in their position, running away with the league and being a team who are chasing a play-off place or the second automatic spot.
“It’s also about that bit of desire to get over the line. They scored two goals at the back post too easily to make it 2-0 at half-time.
“And in the second half, Phil Trainer goes in, he’s seven yards out and about to break the back of the net and their boy makes an unbelievable tackle. That was the difference. That bit to really want to score a goal and to not concede.
“That’s why they are easily going to win this league because they have it and we haven’t yet and that’s the disappointing bit.
“It’s not a 4-0 game but we have gifted them four goals and that’s the big difference.
“We attacked with pace and tempo and got the ball into the right areas and we gave ourselves a really good chance.
“But if you then go and gift a team goals in the 40th and 41st minutes from set-pieces then you are going to struggle. We’ve not conceded many goals from set-pieces this season and then we go and gift two in a minute.
“It’s meant we have gone in 2-0 down when we were probably the better team.
“But it’s not about the ability, it’s about the mental toughness. If you going to be a team that is going to go and do something, you have to have a bit more about you.
“You have to have that bit more between the ears to understand what the game is all about.
“And we haven’t got that yet. We are technically very good, we move the ball well, we understand each other - there are lots of really good things. But you then have to marry that up with the psychological side of the game.”
The Steelmen are now gearing up for another huge game tomorrow (New Year’s Day) as they kick-off 2018 with a home clash with Bedworth United, who leapfrogged them into second spot with a 3-2 success over Peterborough Sports yesterday (Saturday).