BOSS Simon Burton is upbeat about the remainder of Runcorn Town’s season despite Saturday’s defeat at the hands of fellow high flyers Ramsbottom United.
Burton watched on as Town were left to chase the encounter after conceding early on in each half, but he insists the 3-1 defeat was harsh on his players.
Ramsbottom’s victory took them eight points clear of Town, with league leaders Bootle one point further forward.
Recent experience has shown Burton how quickly a gap can be eroded at the top of the North West Counties Premier League, and the former Warrington Town player hasn’t ruled out securing a third successive promotion at Pavilions.
“We’re nine points behind Bootle with two games in hand and we’ve still got to play Barnoldswick and Ramsbottom,” said Burton. “Six games ago we were two points clear, so we know how the league can swing. I’m not writing my lads off. If anything, it maybe takes a bit of pressure off because no one is expecting us to be at the top.
“The lads worked hard so I couldn’t have a go after the game. The work rate was there but sometimes you have off days.
“From a supporters point of view, they’ve got to be happy. We’re still fourth and all expectations have been exceeded so maybe doing so well has made us put pressure on ourselves.”
Despite their efforts, Burton’s men found themselves two down early in the second period and couldn’t build on Jason Carey’s consolation as they slipped to their fourth home league defeat of the season.
As Town chased the game, the visitors picked off an exposed defensive line to seal the points late on and leave Burton’s troops looking up the table in frustration.
The former Bamber Bridge and Witton Albion player believes his side simply left themselves with too much to do.
“It was disappointing,” added Burton. “We conceded the goals at the wrong times. At the beginning of the game after two or three minutes and straight after half-time.
“At 1-0, we hit the post, they usually go in, but we got ourselves back into it at 2-1 and dominated play. We had a chance with 10 minutes left with a header from three yards but the keeper saved it and they went down the other end and made it 3-1.
“We pushed men on and were always likely to leave ourselves open. In truth, we gave ourselves too much to do.
“The first two goals were mistakes. We could have defended the first much better and the second was a set piece. We always run through set pieces before leaving the dressing room so we didn’t do what was spoken about and it cost us.
“But we’re still fourth and were unlucky not to get something.”
Town travel to Northern League outfit Billingham Synthonia this weekend with a place in the last 16 of the FA Vase up for grabs.