Aylesbury FC put in another encouraging display on the road to second-placed Rugby Town last night (Tuesday) but still slipped to their 11th defeat in 12 games.
Boss Steve Bateman is still searching for his first win in charge of FC but he will have been encouraged by the spirit shown against a team looking to win the title.
Aylesbury set up to counter attack their loftier opponents and it was effective early on, Aston Goss breaking away on a number of occasions.
But as so often is the case with FC on this woeful run that sees them without a league win since the end of September, they lost the first goal and the second quickly followed before the half hour.
Given the league positions of the two sides and the form – Rugby had won nine of their last 11 going into the match – FC could have been forgiven for going under.
But there was plenty of spirit on display as they pulled one back on 34 minutes through Gareth Price.
By half-time Rugby were grateful to get in at 2-1 with the Moles having turned the screw after getting their goal back.
The comeback Bateman’s side had threatened was completed when Lamar Simpson struck a deserved equaliser in the second half and it was very much game on.
From there on it was end to end as both sides spurned chances to take the lead.
But it was FC who paid the penalty, literally, when the referee awarded the hosts the chance to get a late winner from 12 yards.
Speaking about his side’s recent form, Bateman admitted the time has come to start getting results regardless of performances.
He said: “It is encouraging that we are regularly competing in these games but at the same time it’s frustrating because it’s the same old pattern.
“We were more than matching Kettering for an hour (in 3-1 defeat on Saturday) but then we were ultimately made to pay for sloppy defending, particularly the third goal.
“I am confident we can turn things around but it must happen sooner rather than later.”