Sleaford Town manager Jamie Shaw believes the signs of improvement are there despite an 11th straight league defeat at Wellingborough Town on Saturday.
Town fielded four debutants for the trip to Northants, including Dan Mason, and he gave the visitors the perfect start, firing them in front after just five minutes.
But Wellingborough levelled before the break through Skwirowski, and then bossed the second half to win 3-1, with a second from Lovell, and Long’s late third.
“It was a much better performance on Saturday, although still not quite at the level that we need to be at to start climbing the league,” Shaw said.
“We’ll keep looking to improve match by match and hopefully we’ll be able to get something out of Saturday’s match against Lutterworth.”
While the bare statistics don’t make comfortable reading, there is room for a little optimism thanks to Town’s backroom staff who were busy completing four loan deals during the week to strengthen their decimated squad.
Mason and Elliott Ramsden came in from Spalding United, who were joined in the Sleaford ranks by Callum Brown and Jack Fixter from Cleethorpes Town and Hykeham Town.
“All made a big difference to us being more compact and organised,” Shaw added.
“The next task is for us to add more of an attacking threat and an ability to retain the ball.
“I felt we gave it away far too often which means you are defending a lot more than you’d like to be.”
Despite their poor start, Town remain only 10 points adrift of safety in United Counties League Premier with almost a third of the season gone.
The first step on the mountain that is left to climb begins at home to mid-table Lutterworth Town on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Tonight (Wednesday), Town head to Stamford to take on Blackstones in the quarter-finals of the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy (ko 7.30pm).