Holbeach United’s squad accepted defeat after manager Seb Hayes put the focus back onto a top-five finish and cup final for ‘the nearly team’.
The Tigers lost 1-0 at home to Cogenhoe United on Wednesday night, keeping them nine points behind leaders Yaxley with three games in hand.
The players talk a good game in terms of everything we want to hear. But actions speak louder than words and I’ll judge them on what I’ve seen on the pitch.Seb Hayes
Montel Dore claimed the only goal and Holbeach failed to score - despite playing for 50 minutes against 10 men following Liam Tuck’s red card.
Hayes admitted: “We didn’t want it enough. There was no heart or fight.
“Yes, we looked the better side from start to finish.
“The goal was a cross, we hit the bar twice and Lewis Leckie had two chances. That’s not good enough.
“We changed the formation to 3-4-3 in the second half because we needed to get the ball out wide.
“All we did was knock straight balls and it was too easy to defend.
“When the ball came off the bar near the end, nobody wanted to gamble on getting the rebound.
“Champions don’t repeatedly go behind and never come back.
“We had to do something which we are not good at.
“The players talk a good game in terms of everything we want to hear.
“But actions speak louder than words and I’ll judge them on what I’ve seen on the pitch.
“We should finish in the top five but we are not good enough to win the league.
“We are very good defensively but we don’t score enough goals. We needed to do more.
“We are the nearly team. The players have accepted now that they won’t get the title.
“Before kick-off, we had to win nine out of 10 - including home games against Wisbech Town and Newport Pagnell Town.
“The players were dejected after Wednesday’s defeat. They know they are beaten in terms of the title race.
“We haven’t scored a goal against Cogenhoe this season but fair play to them.
“They put themselves into a position where they could hang on through hard work and spirit.
“But we can’t become one of those teams who slides away because we have still got the Lincolnshire FA Senior Trophy final and we want to finish in the top five.
“There will be changes at Desborough Town on Saturday because we lost to Cogenhoe, even though we should have won the game with more possession and more chances.”