Heanor Town go into their big clash with Sherwood Colliery on Saturday with boss Neil Walton ruing a ‘missed opportunity’ after defeat at Barrow Town.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat ended a run of three wins and saw Barrow leapfrog them into sixth with Heanor down to eighth ahead of the visit of third-placed Sherwood.
“We got what we deserved – plain and simple,” said Walton.
“We didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t make Barrow work hard enough for their victory either.
“It was all too comfortable and too easy for them.
“I thought it was a very poor game today and I thought we were poor. I am hugely disappointed with the performance and the result.
“It was a missed opportunity to beat a team that was in and around us.”
He continued: “I thought we did okay in the first 20-25 minutes without really excelling. We got in a couple of times and had a couple of half chances.
“You just feel like you’re warming up and better chances will come. You have hope that you will click into gear.
“To have that sort of control early on, I expect my team to go on and dominate that game. We never did that.
“We had a wobble for 5-10 minutes and our confidence just went after that. We almost limped to half-time and never really recovered in the second half.”
The winning goal just before half-time came from a ball down the centre. Miscommunication at the back allowed Danny Page to steal the ball and roll it into the empty goal.
But Walton refused to lay the blame directly at centre halves Max Thornberry and Jake Carlisle.
“Although it was just one long ball that did it I wouldn’t blame those two for the goal,” he said.
“I thought it was the support in and around them that probably let them down a little bit. Collectively we were not good enough today.
“Both individuals have come into the club and done really well. They have settled in really well and compliment each other really well.
“It was a shame for Max that he suffered an injury that left him short of breath and he had to come off.”
Walton had hoped to go into the next tough run of games on a high.
“It hurts massively we’ve not won today to go into this next run of games on the back of what would have been four wins and a nice bit of momentum going into the Sherwood game,” he said.
“Now we are going to spend all week feeling sorry for ourselves and going into the game not wanting it to become two losses.
“We have made the next game harder, but hopefully the lads will be hungry to bounce back with a win.”
Heanor won 3-2 at Sherwood back in October and Walton said: “They will be looking for revenge and will want to do what they for the last half-hour of that game, when we were under a lot of pressure, for the whole 90 minutes.
“It’s up to us to put together a performance we produced in that first 45 minutes when I thought we were outstanding and the better team by a million miles.
“That’s football. It wasn’t quite a game of two halves, but we saw the good, the bad and the ugly in us over the 90 minutes.”