Nicky Law cut a disappointed figure on Saturday after defeat to Bristol Rovers confirmed Alfreton Town’s relegation from the Conference Premier.
The Reds boss was left to reflect on what might have been over the course of the campaign, which brought an end to Alfreton’s four-year stay in the Conference.
He pointed towards reasons why - notably conceding too many goals, a trait which was evident on the last day of the season in a 7-0 defeat at Bristol - and a “golden opportunity” last week.
Law said afterwards: “Obviously disappointed, disappointed in the way that we’ve gone down today, but take nothing away from Bristol - they’re an exceptional side . It was men against boys, that’s why they’re where they are and we’re where we are.
“We’ve not got relegated today. We never really expected to come here and get anything - over a season we’ve conceded far too many goals.”
Welling, who drew 2-2 with Alfreton last week, lost 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers Southport on the last day to stay up on goal difference alone.
“We had a golden opportunity last week to beat Welling - had we done that we could’ve got beat 20-0 today and we’d have still stayed up,” said Law. “But over 46 games we just haven’t been good enough and we have to hold our hands up, accept it and look at the reasons why and take the disappointment, dust ourselves down and build again.
“In my time at this football club we’ve never had the money to get the best players, we’ve never had the best facilities - we’ve struggled with everything, but what l’ve always managed to do is get a group of players together that fight for each other, have a great team spirit, have a bit of fire in their belly, they’re difficult to play against.
“Anyone who knows me and has ever come and played us have always gone away and, won or lost or whatever, gone ‘we don’t want to go there and play them again’.
“But at the minute the group l’ve got now, if l’m honest, everyone will be looking to play us, because that’s how we’ve been - we’ve come here today and l think the lads have given it a go - they’ve shown a good attitude - they’ve come miles short of the opposition, but if they’d have had that attitude and that bit of desire and application in maybe the last five or six games we might have got enough points.”
Law added: “l think the lads went out there and they fought and they fought and they fought against a team that was far too good for them - every time the ball came in the box they got a free header, we couldn’t cope with them defensively, they were too powerful for us and they showed their class - they were worlds apart from where we are.”
Barnet won the Conference title whereas Rovers, Grimsby, Eastleigh and Forest Green will compete in the play-offs that start this week.
Nuneaton, Dartford, Telford and Alfreton were the four teams all relegated.