Melton Town co-manager Steve Hendey has warned his side they can’t afford many more slip-ups if they want to keep their promotion bid alive.
Melton have lost five of their opening 11 games, but have been ravaged by injuries and have had to bed in a relatively new squad.
Yet despite the difficult start, they remain 10th and only nine points off the top three.
“If we are still around there by Christmas we can give it a real go, but we can’t afford to slip too far behind,” said Hendey.
“It’s such a funny league; two wins and we are back up there.
“I can’t see any team running away with it because so many sides are at a similar level.”
Town paid the price for a sluggish start on Tuesday evening when Craig Maisiri gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after 22 minutes.
The home side improved, with Zac Ginvert grabbing a deserved equaliser with 15 minutes left, but Maisiri struck an 81st-minute winner against the run of play.
“We got off to a slow start and they were much quicker than us,” Hendey added.
“We contained them okay, but we didn’t offer much gong forward and then conceded a really daft penalty.
“The disappointing thing for me was that we were well on top when they got the winner.”
Melton have been badly hampered by injuries to their back four, but key forward Tom Byrne was on the bench for Saturday’s win over Raunds and is close to a return.
And with fine margins currently deciding matches in a tight league, returning players could yet tip the balance back in their favour.
“We lost to a good side, but the game could have gone either way,” Hendey said. “I think a draw would have been a fair result.
“They hit the post, we hit the post, we kicked a couple off the line, but we also had the clearer chances.”