Team Northumbria are still backing themselves to gain promotion following the 4-3 defeat to Darlington Railway Athletic insists coach Colin Stromsoy.
“We are confident - we’ve been top of the table all season long and we know what we need to do,” Stromsoy said. “But we’ll be taking it a game at a time because of what happened yesterday.
“Clearly we had a disaster - we failed to defend well and conceded three goals at home.
“We scored three goals at home and haven’t won and we need to be clear about why that’s happening.
“That needs addressing but ultimately we’re still top of the league and our destiny is still in our own hands.”
The defeat gives Stockton Town the opportunity to leapfrog TN into first place if they win their game in hand, but Stromsoy insists the team will respond.
“Being top with three games to go is something we would have taken at the start of the season,” he added. “We were totally dominant in the last 30 minutes, but we were poor for 60.
“There’s no getting around that - we can’t defend like we did and expect to win a game.
“We haven’t played well in the last few weeks but we’ve had enough to win games. Yesterday we didn’t play well for long enough.
“Our build-up play needs to be better and our possession play - it’s our first loss since early January so it’s a hell of a record.
“It’s not ideal in terms of where we wanted to be but we’ll refocus and we’ll be ready for next Saturday.”
TN will want to right their defensive wrongs before next Saturday’s trip to Billingham Town, the highest scoring side in the Northern League’s second tier.
“Changes are needed - there’s no getting around that.” Stromsoy added. “Some players weren’t at the level we demand.”
After Billingham, TN will host Stockton at Coach Lane, a side who have been hot on their heels for much of the season. But despite the clash having potential as a championship-decider, Stromsoy has no doubts.
“I’ll have to get the balance right, and we’ll try and get back to where we were a few weeks ago - if we rediscover that form we’ll be fine,” he added.
“It’s all to play for.”