Belper Town boss Aaron Webster said Frickley Athletic have set the bar for the Nailers to aspire to next season when the two teams met on Saturday.
A 6-0 defeat by the promotion hungry visitors to the Marstons Stadium ended Belper’s five game unbeaten run of late in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South.
That run has seen Webster’s men move comfortably into midtable security - 16 points off the bottom and 14 points from the play-offs - with five games of the season remaining.
The former Burton Albion player said: “It was one defeat where I’ve not been angry or despondent or gone home and been a nightmare for my wife and kids afterwards.
“I’ve always been a bad loser and, when I was a player, losing a match would ruin my weekend. But as I’m getting older I’m trying to look at the bigger picture.
“I was very impressed with Frickley. Some of the goals they scored were frightening and sometimes you’ve got to just put your hands up and accept the better team won.
“They deserved to win and win by a few goals.”
Belper enjoyed an unbeaten March which saw them see off Kidsgrove Athletic and Romulus and pick up draws against Spalding United, Romulus and Stamford.
And Webster pointed to other notable appearances since taking charge in December.
“We gave Basford a game and were unlucky not to get a point,” he said. “We played well against Bedworth and got a point at home. A victory at Alvechurch was also pleasing.
“I hate losing but Saturday was a check and probably something I needed to see because we were on a good run before that and it probably hit home a little bit.
“Frickley are going well and that is what we are aspiring to do. We want to be higher up the league next season and we’ve still got a way to go before we get there.”
Belper are scheduled to face Sheffield FC at home on Thursday night and travel to Chasetown on Saturday but there are doubts over some players who have picked up injuries of late.
Dylan Garnett (thigh) and Jonathan Jebbison (leg) were both substituted during the first half against Frickley while the returning Jack Carlisle suffered a fractured tibia and has been ruled out for the season.
“It’s unfortunate for Jake. He’s going to be out for some time. I’m not too sure how long it’ll be. Hopefully he’ll be back in pre-season,” said Webster.
“We’ve got a training session tonight (Tuesday) though I’m not too sure how we’re going to be looking for numbers after Saturday. We can’t dwell on the defeat either.
“Other people have got a chance to come in. We’re not going to get relegated, we’re not going to get promoted, but we’re still going to go out there and try to get as many points as possible.
“These injuries won’t help but it’s now up to those to come in to stake their claim for now and for next season. Unbeaten teams don’t change but there will be a chance for people now.”