John McDermott took heart from the Boxing Day defeat to Stockport County as his Alfreton Town side prepare for the return fixture at the Impact Arena on New Year’s Day.
Former Reds loanee Kallum Mantack scored the decisive 41st minute goal when he lashed home a precision cross from Darren Stephenson, but was stretchered off with a serious injury sustained in the 48th minute following a clash with Cieron Keane.
And despite the result meaning Alfreton continue to hover just above the relegation zone, manager McDermott saw the positives.
He said: “l thought the lads worked hard - it’s a tough place to come, with the crowd and the atmosphere and they’re a big, strong, organised team.
“They’re on a bit of a run of form while we’re experiencing the opposite so confidence is a little bit low, but after we weathered the storm and rode our luck at times they scored a good goal and that kicked us off a little bit and l said to the lads at half-time that we’re a a better team than we think we are.
“When we got it down and actually passed it and kept our shape we looked okay, and especially in the second-half there wasn’t much in it.
“Apart from them having a few corners we’ve had the better chances. We’ve had a one-on-one with Frank Mulhern - he’s done well, gone through, he’s taken the ball round the keeper whose made a great save. Should he have scored? Maybe, l don’t know.
“Then young Noel Burdett had a good chance - another good save - l can’t remember Chris Elliott diving across and making one-handed saves.”
McDermott will now prepare to welcome County for the return game as the Reds aim to end a run of six straight league defeats.
They are level on points with Nuneaton Town and Southport who both sit inside the relegation.
He said: “l’ll have to take the positives out of it, l thought we had a go and l just want us to believe in ourselves more in terms of what we can hurt teams with.
“A lot of these lads have been in teams that have always been winning, been promoted, won big games, but now they’re in a team where they’re losing a few games and at times don’t know how to get to win a game again.”
Following the game with Stockport, Alfreton will head to North Ferriby United who are bottom of the table with just seven points so far. They’ll then host Darlington on January 13 and Leamington on January 20.