Alex Pike has urged his Gosport Borough players to avoid the agony of not finishing the job off.
Borough go into their final Southern League premier division game of the season against St Neots knowing their play-off hopes are out of their own hands.
Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Frome Town meant the Privett Park side failed to leapfrog fifth-placed Barwell with their game in hand and seize the initiative in the dramatic race for promotion.
Instead of being two points clear of their play-off rivals with one match to go, Borough find themselves a point adrift – and two behind fourth-placed Hemel Hempstead.
Their rivals face home games against Frome and Bideford respectively in what promises to be a tense finale to the regular season.
But Pike believes his side must be in a position to strike if either of the pair immediately above them in the table unexpectedly slip-up.
‘We are going into our final game with a lot still riding on it,’ he said.
‘I am distraught and disappointed that we don’t control our own fate.
‘But we have to maintain our belief and go into the game knowing a win can still get us there.
‘There will be no worse feeling in the world if our two rivals slip up and we don’t win tomorrow.
‘We have to do our best to win the game and see where it takes us.’
Pike will be hoping for a change in fortunes after the midweek trip to Frome.
He felt the home side should have had their goalkeeper sent off for handling outside the area in the first 10 minutes.
Borough also had three or four chances cleared off the Frome goalline, while Dan Woodward hit the post.
To make matters worse, Pike then saw defender Aaron Cook suffer a broken collarbone and Brett Poate limp off.
‘It was one of those nights when everything conspired against us,’ said Pike.
Both Cook and Poate are unlikely to play tomorrow and Pike’s hopes of getting loanee Ryan Woodford back from the Hawks has hit an administrative hiccup.
Top-scorer Justin Bennett, however, has strapped up his ankle and declared himself fit to give his manager a lift.
‘Whatever happens we are on course for our highest-ever finish at this level,’ said Pike.
‘It is our first year back in the premier division and our original aim was to consolidate.
‘But we are still in with a chance and will maintain our belief right to the very end.
‘It will be great if the local football community can come out in force and get behind the team.
‘Against Leamington recently we had over 600 and it makes a big difference. The players really appreciate it and it helps them raise their game.’