Upbeat Matt Easton feels that Spalding United aren’t far off possessing a squad capable of challenge at the top end of the Evo-Stik NPL East Division table.
The Tulips chief was impressed with what he saw from his charges for an hour of Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at runaway leaders Morpeth Town, before two “mind-boggling” red cards shown to Rudy Misambo and James Cullingworth cost them dear.
Easton feels the performance of his side was “unrecognisable” to the one put in by his charges in last year’s 4-0 home reverse against the Highwaymen and feels positive about the future.
He said: “We probably shaded the first hour, if I’m honest. We created chances and looked good until the referee lost his way a little.
“I think Rudy perhaps made two fouls in the entire game, while James was pretty much knocked out after a collision and was still sent off. It was mind-boggling, if I’m honest.
“Even for a period when we had ten men, we looked the more likely to score.
“OK, the result ended up being a 3-0 loss and that looks bad.
“But I was largely impressed with what I saw.
“Our system worked well against the best side in the league and I thought the players went out and took a lot of responsibility, showed lots of character and played with plenty of energy.
“Losing to Morpeth isn’t a disaster and we now have games coming up against sides in and around us.
“But what it showed me was that we have a group of players here that aren’t far off being able to challenge at the top end of the table next season.
“We have a really fantastic group and it was unrecognisable from the side that lost to Morpeth last time we met.
“If we can finish the job and secure our status for next season, I’m very positive about the future.”
Spalding are without a fixture this weekend and could see themselves sucked back towards the drop zone if results go against them.
The Tulips are six points clear of the sole relegation spot, but all four of the teams below then have two games in hand.
Easton insists that he’ll not even look at the scores and feels his charges are having a break at the best possible time.
He added: “We’ve now got eight Saturdays left until the end of the season – that’s ideal with no midweek games.
“I feel we’ll have enough to stay up and it’s in our own hands.
“I’m not bothered by the results, I’ll not even look to be honest. What will be, will be.”