Eastwood Town player/manager Chris Shaw has praised his young squad after they came within seconds of a first win under his tutelage.
The 2-2 draw with Stafford Rangers last Saturday was the first point gained since victory at Matlock Town in October, although it took a stoppage time penalty to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.
And Shaw, whose foul gave away the late spot-kick, said the result could prove a huge boost to the team.
He said: “We were so unlucky not to win it. To be honest it should have been game over by that point as we missed some good opportunities but in the end it all came down to a last-gasp penalty.
“I hold my hands up with regard to the foul but I had to make the tackle. I did get a touch although it was a tiny one and the lad went down pretty easily, but these things happen. It was my first game back for a while and I’m learning all the time.
“But the fact is we didn’t lose the game. It was a valuable point and a performance that will give us great confidence.”
Shaw also took time to praise centre-half Romaine Graham, whose incredible solo goal early in the second-half looked as if it would be enough to win the game.
“I’ve watched the goal several times on the internet and it reminded me of when I was a bit younger and could run a bit more!” he added.
“Romaine has been fantastic since I’ve been in and was a great leader when Mitch Hanson and I were out of the team. He’s a big asset to the club and knows his game.”
The Badgers will now make the long trip to Kendal Town this weekend aiming to build on last Saturday’s display.
The Lake District side are in a degree of turmoil having recently lost manager Lee Ashcroft and several players to Northwich Victoria, with a large budget cut also believed to have taken place.
And Shaw is hopeful those factors could play into Eastwood’s hands.
He said: “We know ourselves how hard it can be when cuts are made but with their team expected to be made up mostly of local players who haven’t played together before, there may be cracks we can open up.
“We’ve come off the Stafford game full of belief and desire and hopefully we can look back at that as being where our season really got started.”