Gary Mills refused to be too critical of his Corby Town players after they became the latest victims of Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division champions-elect Blyth Spartans.
The clash between the league’s two form teams went the way of the runaway leaders as they secured a 4-2 success at Croft Park.
Stefan Moore had brought the Steelmen level at 1-1 in the first half but Blyth went 4-1 up after the break before Joe Iaciofano pulled one back for Corby late on.
The defeat left the Steelmen four points adrift of safety after Marine and Frickley shared a 3-3 draw.
But Mills was proud of the effort his team put in against the side he firmly believes will go on and claim the title.
“This group of players have come a long, long way and they proved it,” Mills said.
“They didn’t give in, they played with pride even when we were behind and they kept going until the end.
“We were punished for our mistakes and we were up against a good side, a good all-round unit and I have no doubt that they will go on and win the league.
“But I am not going to be too hard on my players.
“They have been on a great run of form and they should be very proud of that and I told them so afterwards.
“What we have to do now is regroup and try to get on another good run.”
Blyth, meanwhile, have appealed more information after a “racially insensitive insult” was alleged to have been shout at Steelmen defender Aaron Brown during the first half of the game.
A statement from the league leaders last night said: “Instead of celebrating our 12th consecutive win in all competitions following the 4-2 win over Corby Town, Blyth Spartans have been left feeling dismayed – after receiving a complaint regarding a racist remark supposedly shouted from the stands during the game.
“During the first half of our Evo-Stik Premier League encounter against Corby, a Blyth fan stood in the Plessey Road End is accused of shouting a racially insensitive insult at visiting central defender Aaron Brown.
“With a number of Spartans supporters housed in the Tynetec Stand for the first 45 minutes of the match, the club are requesting more information regarding this incident and anyone wishing to help with enquiries are urged to email a statement to Ian Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any information sent within those statements will be held in the strictest confidence.
“Blyth Spartans would like to apologise to Brown and Corby Town and we remind all supporters that any racist, sexist or any other other derogatory comments are completely unacceptable – as guilty parties will face sanctions for their actions.
“The club do not condone this behaviour and, not only does it reflect badly on the Blyth Spartans name, the majority of well-behaved fans should not have to put up with these actions from a small select few.”