Selston boss Craig Weston took great heart from an impressive fourth place finish in the club’s first season at step six - but admitted it was tinged with a little disappointment as well.
The Parishioners finished eight points behind champions Dunkirk and seven ahead of fifth-placed Belper United having only been promoted as champions from the Central Midlands League 12 months earlier.
And Weston says he was surprised by how well his squad acquitted themselves.
He said: “I was a bit surprised because after two or three games I thought we’d have to make more changes to the team than we actually ended up needing to.
“To be at the top end of the table throughout was a great achievement, although in some ways it’s disappointing too because we actually had a good chance of winning it for a long time.
“We suffered quite a bit from Blaby & Whetstone’s withdrawal from the league because we lost six points, more than some others around us, and that could have been the difference between us finishing where we did and being able to challenge right to the end and put more pressure on
“But I can’t complain about the players or how things have gone overall, it’s been a great learning curve and I hope we can kick on next year.”
Weston believes he will be able to keep much of his squad together, as has been the case over the last couple of seasons, although knows one or two changes may be needed.
He said: “We are a close-knit group both on and off the pitch and widespread changes aren’t needed, particularly given how well we’ve done this year.
“We made one or two signings in the latter part of the season but we’ve had the same nucleus of the squad for a while now.
“We don’t have a budget as such, so can’t be competing with other teams in that sense when it comes to tempting players to the club, but maybe that makes our fourth place that much more impressive.
“If we are to be serious contenders maybe that’s an area we need to look at, especially given the EMCL will be a tough league next year with the likes of Eastwood coming up and maybe Ilkeston in there too, but that can only happen when the time is right.”
Weston added that next season will carry extra incentives for Selston with a first ever FA Cup appearance - which will see them play in that competition from as early as the first week of the season - plus the possibility of promotion should the club opt to apply this time around having chosen not to last season.
Weston said: “The FA Cup would be good to get two or three wins in as that would boost the coffers a bit and it’s something we’re all excited about taking part in.
“I’m not sure as yet whether we’ll apply for promotion and obviously we’d have to finish high enough to go up anyway, but it would be good if we could do that as it gives us that extra incentive to do well.”