Tommy Wright has acknowledged Corby Town face an uphill battle as far as the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division title is concerned.
The Steelmen’s 10-match unbeaten run was ended in a 1-0 defeat at Paulton Rovers yesterday (Saturday) as the hosts won it thanks to a 77th-minute penalty.
Kalern Thomas was sent off for the foul that led to the spot-kick and the defeat proved to be significant to Corby’s title hopes.
Poole Town’s game at Arlesey Town was postponed while Weymouth and Truro City both won to move above the Steelmen, who remain five points behind the leaders who now have three games in hand.
Wright felt his team paid the price for not taking their chances at Paulton and he now believes they will have to win all of their final 15 matches to stand any chance of staying in the hunt for the crown.
“We have got 15 matches left and we have, more or less, got to win every game now,” the Corby boss said.
“Poole have got the games in hand as well as a five-point lead and it is their title to throw away now. Weymouth won and Truro are on a great run so there are teams in the mix and we are still one of them.
“To be honest, we looked comfortable for most of the game at Paulton.
“They have scored from a penalty and we felt it was debatable. Our opinion was that Kalern got enough of the ball but as soon as the referee gave a penalty, he had no choice but to send him off as well.
“We dominated for long periods but the disappointing thing was we didn’t get a goal and when you don’t take your chances, there’s always the possibility that you could get caught out.”
The game saw a debut for young defender Herve Pepe-N’goma, who joined the Steelmen on loan from Leicester City during the week.
And Wright was impressed with what he saw. He added: “Herve did really well. it was his first game in five months after being injured and he looked strong, quick and athletic.
“He wouldn’t be at Leicester if he wasn’t good and I know the guys there and they rate him.
“He showed he will be a good addition and I am sure he will help us get back to winning ways.”
Ultimately, it proved to be a tough 24 hours for the Steelmen as their defeat at Paulton was preceded by the news that they will have to replay their game at Truro in full.
Corby led 2-1 in Cornwall with just four minutes remaining on January 10 when the floodlights failed.
The Steelmen felt they should be awarded all three points but the Southern League board have ruled the match must be replayed from the start, although Corby have 14 days to appeal.
Wright said: “I don’t think it has unsettled the lads, if anything it is spurring them on.
“The club have a decision to make regarding any appeal. I have said everything I need to say, I have put everything on the table.
“I thought we had a good argument so we need to find out how the decision was made and what was wrong with our case.”
Corby are due to return to action on Tuesday night when they travel to United Counties League side Peterborough Northern Star in the semi-finals of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup.