You don’t always get what you deserve for putting in plenty of effort.
Ultimately, it was a pretty familiar story for Spalding United on Saturday.
Another single-goal defeat came from a mistake which was punished to extend the Tulips’ poor run.
November turned into a nightmare with one point from five league games.
Now they have a target to stay among the promotion pack and it seems Spalding are not that far away from a return to top form.
Key players are back in the spine of the side and a couple of new signings could provide another boost.
Despite a hard-working display which had commitment and organisation all over the pitch, there was a lack of quality in the final third where it really counts.
On the counter-attack, Jenk Acar posed problems down the left wing and play was often switched well in a bid to create some clear-cut chances.
Those opportunites did not come, though, as Jordan Lemon’s low drive after 14 minutes turned out to be the Tulips’ only shot on target.
Lemon’s header was also deflected over the bar before the break.
After conceding the only goal of a poor game in terms of entertainment value, the Tulips tried to rescue some reward.
Skipper Nathan Stainfield was sent forward in a 3-4-3 formation and he went close a couple of times.
Keeper Michael Duggan went up for a free-kick at the end of stoppage-time but it was a comfortable afternoon for Basford United’s number one Saul Deeney.
Duggan didn’t make a save but his punch led to Fabian Smith firing in the winner on 72 minutes.
A free-kick was punched out and when the ball came back into the area, Duggan again tried to get it away. But the danger was not over and Smith took his chance.
Sam Downey’s penalty appeal at the other end just two minutes later summed up a spell of desperation as Spalding finally put the home defence under pressure.
The Tulips couldn’t find the target and there was no way back.
It’s not all doom and gloom as Spalding remain third but this was an opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table.
They certainly need to get back to winning ways soon as we approach the halfway stage of the season.
You would expect players to show work-rate, desire and commitment every week.
Usually, those efforts are rewarded but Spalding have stopped picking up points – mainly down to individual errors rather than some poor performances.
Somehow, they must find a way to get back on track.
4-1-2-1-2: Deeney; McNicholas, Carr, Meikle, Walker; Bertram; F Smith, Howell; Hutchinson; Shannon-Lewis (sub Asiedu-Boateng 88 mins), Grantham (sub C Smith 71 mins). Subs not used: Duffy, Knight.
4-4-2: Duggan 6; Walker 7, Spafford 7 (sub Wightwick 78 mins), Stainfield 7, Gatter 7; Lemon 7, Whitehead 7, Varley 7, Acar 7 (sub Downey 66 mins, 6); Wells 7, Griffiths 7. Subs not used: Moyses, Barraclough, Fleming.
F Smith (72 mins, 1-0).
Lemon, Varley, Gatter (fouls); C Smith (failing to retreat 10 yards).
Nathan Stainfield – plenty of spirit.
Loughborough Dynamo (A) – Saturday.