Player/manager Chris Shaw had mixed feelings this week after seeing his Eastwood Town side draw 2-2 with FC United of Manchester on Saturday at Coronation Park.
On the one hand he was delighted with the display that frustrated a side gunning for promotion, but on the other he was once again left agonising over a late goal that saw points dropped in the dying moments.
He said: “Everyone was absolutely gutted after the game as once again we’d come so close to winning only for sloppy defending to cost us.
“But it was a fantastic performance overall and again shows how far we’ve come in recent weeks.
“I’ve said for a while now that the fact we’re relegated doesn’t really matter at the moment, and that the players really deserve a win due to their attitude and hard work.
“They’re playing for their futures at this club and given they’re doing so well it bodes well.”
Shaw is continuing to assess what will be required for next season in Evo-Stik Division One South, and considering how well his side has played in some recent games in the Premier Division, he feels a quick return could be more than achievable.
“If we’ve played so well on this budget now, who is to say we can’t come straight back up and do the same again on a similar budget,” he said.
“If I’d had this squad when I first took over then I believe we’d easily be in mid-table, but the reality is that I came in at a bad time and it just wasn’t possible to turn it around that quickly.
“But I’m really excited about the next campaign and can’t wait to get going in pre-season.”
Eastwood head to Whitby Town this weekend to face a side who are guaranteed a lower mid-table finish, and Shaw feels the fact there is little to play for in the match could play into the Badgers’ hands.
He added: “I can feel a win is just around the corner and we have a chance to capitalise on this being something of a dead rubber and to get a win.
“It may be academic in league terms, but a victory would do wonders for team morale and the players thoroughly deserve it.”