Sleaford Town manager Jamie Shaw has admitted it may be too much too soon for his young side after their winless league run stretched to 10 matches on Saturday.
Shaw was forced to build his side around the club’s most promising juniors following the departure of much of last season’s squad in the summer.
The tough environment of step five is proving an unforgiving introduction to senior football, and the side sit rock-bottom of the United Counties League Premier without a point from their opening 10 matches.
Shaw said: “We are unfortunately in a difficult situation where a number of our players will be better for the experience, but it may be a season too soon for them at this level.
“However, due to resources, we don’t have a lot of options other than to keep working with them and trying to improve them and minimise the inconsistencies.”
Last weekend proved another harsh learning curve for Town as they lost 4-1 at fellow strugglers Northampton ON Chenecks in a game that was much closer fought than the scoreline would suggest.
After an even opening 25 minutes the hosts hit the front when a teasing cross was slid home from close range.
But Town made the perfect start to the second half and were back in the game two minutes after the break when Lewis Cook’s inswinging corner found the net.
However, they were unable to take advantage of the platform and Chenecks were back in front midway through the half when a free-kick was swung in and headed home.
The award of the free-kick had drew initial protests, and keeper Chris Bennett was sin-binned for further questioning the decision after the ball found the net.
From having had a chance of points, Sleaford were soon out of the game as 2-1 quickly became 4-1 to give Chenecks a first win of the season.
“Saturday was ultimately very frustrating,” Shaw added.
“We competed well for the majority of it, but the difference was that they were better in both boxes.
“It was particularly frustrating as this was a game we felt we could have got something from.
“Lewis gave us a really good platform at one-all just after half-time, but we were unable to build on it.”
Town will look to take the positives from the game as they prepare to host Anstey Nomads on Saturday.
The Leicestershire side sit ninth with 14 points from their 10 games.
Kick-off at Eslaforde Park is 3pm.