Heanor Town boss Glen Clarence was full of praise for his players despite a 1-0 defeat at top-of-the-table Alvechurch on Saturday.
The game was won by a late goal while Alvechurch also missed two penalties, new Heanor signing Ash Lynch receiving a red card to add to the Lions’ frustrations.
But with several key players missing from his squad, Clarence was delighted with how the team he had available approached the game.
He said: “It doesn’t feel like we’ve lost the game, such is the way we played and how pleased I am afterwards.
“I’m not one for making excuses but the fact is we had several key players unavailable, including having lost two in the warm-up, as well as having three who started carrying injuries, and yet we’ve put in a far better display than when we had a strong side out in the home game against them earlier in the season and lost 4-0.
“None of them need to have their heads down after that. They gave it everything and that’s really the only reason to be disappointed rather than it being a situation where we might have played badly.
“They put their bodies on the line and there are some massive positives to take away from the game.”
Lynch was sent off after conceding one of the two Alvechurch penalties due to being the last man, a decision Lions assistant manager Steve Hamilton agreed was the right one.
He said: “Ash has played really well but in the end he had to make an attempt to get the ball and in the process did just catch the lad and being the last man he had to go. It’s just one of those things.
“There’s no shame in losing to a top side like that with ten men.”
Heanor’s match at Walsall ood on Easter Monday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, with the Lions set to be in action again last night (Wednesday) after the Ripley and Heanor News went to press as they travelled to AFC Wulfrunians.
Clarence added: “It’s not ideal having so many games scheduled in a short space of time, especially when we have so many injuries, but with us not challenging for the title now it could be an opportunity to give a few young players some games.”