Deflated Spalding United boss Pat Rayment has accepted that his side can no longer win the UCL Premier Division title after Monday’s derby defeat to Holbeach United.
But the Tulips chief insists that there’s still a way for both sides to achieve their goals for the season.
As the Tigers have not applied for promotion, second place is likely to be good enough for Spalding to go up – but St Ives Town are the wild card for both teams.
The second-placed Saints are now Holbeach’s only rivals for the title and also have designs on promotion. The top duo still have to play each other twice in an exciting climax to the season, meaning Rayment is now in the strange situation of supporting the Tigers.
“I hope Holbeach go on and win the title now,” said the Tulips chief. “We need them to beat St Ives twice if we want to finish second.
“They’d be doing themselves a favour as they’d win the league – and also us a favour as we really want to be promoted.
“We can’t win the title now, even a draw against Holbeach wouldn’t have been good enough for us.
“There wasn’t much in the game and I felt 3-1 flattered them somewhat. But it was the same old story for us, individual errors cost us dear.
“It’s that simple, two lads pressed the self-destruct button again and you can’t legislate for that.
“But we have to stay positive. We’ve got nine games to go and we’re certainly capable of winning them all.
“If we have to settle for third then so be it, it’s still been the best season Spalding have had in years.”
The first of Spalding’s final nine league games is a home clash with Yaxley on Saturday (3pm), with Jack McGovern set for a debut.