Melton Mowbray joint manager Matt Curtis has refused to concede the Senior League title race despite the narrowest of defeats to chief rivals Sileby on Saturday.
Mowbray remained top after the 1-0 loss to Sileby, but only on goal difference from Steve Hendey’s side who have three games in hand and have yet to lose a league game this season.
Curtis said: “It is hard to say. Sileby have been 1-0 specialists this season and are well organised in defence, but they don’t score that many. I don’t think they will lose many, but they may draw a few games.
“They have some tough games left, but may start thinking the job is done after beating us, you just don’t know.”
Curtis believed his side created the better chances in a tight game, but were scuppered by a few key decisions.
He added: “We had four good chances in the first half and over the whole game I didn’t think Sileby created too many clear cut openings. I think they would’ve been happy with a point.
“Even Sileby supporters told me they thought their guy was offside for their goal, but you just get on with it.
“I couldn’t really see from where I was standing, but it hurts a little.
“We should have had a penalty as well. The referee tried to let a lot of things go, but even in the build-up to their goal Adam Bishop got a push as he went for a header.
“The referee played advantage but we didn’t have the advantage and they broke and scored.”
Curtis was delighted with Melton’s back four, but believed a slippery pitch - and the league’s tightest defence - affected the forward line who failed to score for the first time this season.
He said: “I didn’t think the pitch would cut up as badly as it did, and that stopped us playing at the tempo we are used to.
“I don’t think we got down the channels as much as we have in other games or got behind them.
“We had enough chances to get the ball into the box, but either we took that extra touch or overran it. We didn’t take the initiative.”
With Sileby ineligible to go up to step six next season, Melton are still leading the promotion race and have only to finish above Saffron Dynamo and Friar lane.
They also have a Senior Cup semi-final against Bardon Hill to savour later this month.
He said: “It sets up our game at Saffron late in the season because the defeat has given them a glimmer of hope. But we will build our players back up.”