Huntingdon Town boss Jimmy Brattan took countless positives from a fourth successive defeat – despite his side being pushed closer to the United Counties League drop.
Town are only one place and one point above the bottom two in Division One following a 3-1 reverse at leaders Lutterworth Town.
They conceded twice in set-piece situations in the first half before Eric Makate halved the arrears midway through the second period with his first Huntingdon goal.
Brattan’s depleted side also created chances to level before being undone by a late clincher from their high-flying hosts.
“We gave a really good account of ourselves against the league leaders despite the fact we had seven regular players missing,” said Brattan.
“We asked the lads that were there to leave absolutely everything on the pitch and they did that. A lot of people would have expected us to roll over, but that definitely wasn’t the case.
“We were bang in the game from the first whistle to the final whistle. We managed to frustrate Lutterworth and it wasn’t until late on that they got the third goal to seal their win.”
Brattan fielded a new-look attack as he gave a debut to reserve team prospect Leshon Douglas and also handed Sam Orrell a first start.
The Town chief also praised defender Jonathan Goode for playing through the pain of a broken toe.
Goode is now unavailable due to work commitments for the first of three successive home fixtures as fourth-placed Bugbrooke visit Jubilee Park this Saturday, 3pm.
Brattan added: “We should have a lot of lads returning this Saturday but I can promise they won’t all walk straight back into the team.
“We have three home games in a row and the challenge is try to pick up points in all of them.
“There are surprise results at this stage of the season and we have to believe we can do cause a few of our own.”
The number of clubs relegated from this level is not set in stone, but a league spokeswoman confirmed the sides finishing in the bottom two may well face the drop.
The Hunts Post was told: “The National League System regulations dictate that the club’s finishing in the bottom two of all 19 Step 6 leagues in the country are liable to be relegated
“But all promotions and relegations are dealt with by the FA Leagues Committee and we won’t know for definite ourselves until decisions are made after the season has ended.
“Upwards, downwards and lateral movement of clubs in any league at any level can have an effect on what might happen in our league.”