Andy Peaks was left with mixed emotions after his AFC Rushden & Diamonds side secured their place in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central play-offs.
Diamonds suffered a 2-0 defeat at title-chasing Egham Town last night but a top-five finish was confirmed after St Ives Town won 2-0 at Aylesbury.
And while Peaks was disappointed with the result, he was pleased to be able to look at the “bigger picture”.
“It was mixed emotions really and it was a case of a negative being followed by a positive,” the Diamonds boss said.
“But the bigger picture is that we have got to where we wanted to be at the start of the season with a game to spare so we are very pleased with that.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half against a decent team, who were quite direct in their approach.
“We didn’t take the chances we created and losing Jon Stevenson to injury hurt us because he was finding lots of pockets of space and causing them problems, which we knew he would.
“The penalty early in the second half was dubious to say the least and that gave them a lift.
“Overall, I thought it was a game we didn’t deserve to lose but you don’t always get what you think you deserve.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to get into the play-offs but it ended up being a good night for us and now we can look forward to them.”
Peaks’ side can’t finish any higher than fourth, which means they will be away from home in the play-off semi-finals, which are due to take place next Tuesday night.
They will travel to one of Kings Langley, Egham or Royston Town, who are set to battle it out for the sole automatic promotion place on Saturday.
Diamonds finish their regular season with a home game against Godalming Town at the Dog & Duck at the weekend.
Don’t miss more Diamonds news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph