Manager Dave Frecklington said he was “proud” of the Frickley Athletic team despite their 2-0 loss to promotion-chasing Leek Town.
The Blues went into the BetVictor NPL South East game on the back of four straight wins and on a six-match unbeaten run, but desite giving as good as they got they were on the wrong end of the result.
Frecklington was happy with aspects of the way they competed against opponents who are in second place, level on points with leaders Stamford with a game in hand.
He said: “Disappointed with the result, but very proud of the boys’ levels. We looked a proper team for 70 minutes, but just one of those days infront of goal.
“Credit to Leek Town on the three points that’s the kind of result that gets a team promotion.
“I’ve learned how good we are – I thought we were excellent, well deserved of a point if not all three. We missed some really big chances.
“We were away at a really good side that you can tell have been together two or three years now and for large parts we were better than them.
“On another day Margetts gets three and there’s times where we’ve opened them up at will.
“Our game plan worked a treat, we nullified their diamond and both full-backs got on and created good chances. But the (first) goal’s a scruffy one from a set piece and it’s disappointing, they’ve not opened us up.
“The last 20 minutes as soon as they scored the goal we struggled to get back into it and they saw the game out really well.
“But it was not a 2-0 game and it shows how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.”
Frecklington reckons there is plenty for his players to be positive about.
He added: “I’ve said to the players bottle that feeling up because it’s been a long time since we had a defeat. Go away and be proud of what you’ve achieved over the last 10 games.
“I think we were top of the league in the form guide over 10 games with 23 points.
“We’re really disappointed that we’ve lost the game, but we can’t be too downhearted because we want to bounce back against Chasetown and hopefully go on another run.
“It’s never easy going there and I’ve never won there so I want to put that right.”
Frickley looked like a side in form in the opening half with Jake Currie and Oli Valentine going close and a big penalty shout turned down after Jonny Margetts appeared to be brought down.
Margetts was unable to beat the home keeper in a one-on-one and missed two further chances while Jacob Hazel had a shot cleared off the line.
The Blues were made to pay for the misses as Leek took the lead through Joshua Agbozo on 70 minutes and added a late second as William Reeves netted.
Frickley remain in tenth position and now turn their attention to another away game when they travel to play Chasetown this Saturday. Their hosts are seven places below them, but have played five fewer games. They have, however, struggled on home soil with just one win so far in the league.
Frickley are now within two wins of another appearance in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup final after coming through a thrilling third round tie at home to Stocksbridge Park Steels on Tuesday night.
A home tie against Swinton Athletic awaits them in the quarter-finals in the new year after they made it through to the quarter-finals with a 5-3 win in a penalty shoot-out.
The game itself finished 2-2 with the Blues letting a two-goal first half lead slip after the break.
They named a strong side and made a strong start with Jonny Margetts opening the scoring in the 12th minute.
More goals could have followed as Jacob Hazel shot over and Margetts hit the woodwork with a free-kick. But Sam Cable celebrated being back in a Frickley shirt as he made it 2-0.
Steels hit back with two goals in six minutes in the second half through Lewis Whitham and Scott Ruthven and the game went to penalties with Tom Davie, Michael Hollingsworth, Hazel, Margetts and Cable all netting for the Blues.