Ady Adams admitted Havant lacked experience and attacking nous in and around the D after they were beaten 3-1 by Old Georgians.
Former England international James Tindall scored all three goals for the London side in the South League premier division one encounter at Havant College on Saturday.
I wouldn’t fault any of my players for their work-rate but we just lacked that bit of experience – especially when you think all of Old Georgian’s front line have played in the National LeagueAdy Adams
The visitors had to win to have any chance of overtaking Sevenoaks in the title race but, as it turned out, the Kent side won both their games at the weekend and finished top of the league – just one point ahead of Old Georgians.
Havant trail in third place on 45 points, with one more game to play against Lewes on April 11.
Adams believes his side matched their opponents in most departments, except for the attacking third.
‘I was happy with my team’s performance,’ said the coach.
‘We were as good as them. On another day we would have come away winning, playing like that.
‘As always when we’ve played these top sides, we’ve been in it.
‘I wouldn’t fault any of my players for their work-rate but we just lacked that bit of experience – especially when you think all of Old Georgian’s front line have played in the National League.
‘If you look at the average age, they’re probably three or four years older than us.
‘Sometimes we don’t have the conversion rate for when the ball is in the D.
‘Obviously Tindall was an international, so there’s a lot of experience in their side.
‘He was the difference in and around the D. You just can’t take your eye off him because he’s either going to score, set something up or win a penalty corner.’
Havant went behind inside the opening minute of the game when Tindall fired home a clinical shot.
But Adams’ men responded well to the early setback.
Sandeep Singh – playing his final game for Havant – forced a good save from his first penalty corner and then equalised from his second after 11 minutes.
Old Georgians ramped up the pressure, though, and saw a goalbound shot hit Raj Laly on the line after goalkeeper Ben Cowling had saved the initial effort.
The visitors then controversially took a 2-1 lead from a Havant 25-yard hit on 16 minutes.
Chris Smith moved the ball over for Singh but Tindall pounced, thinking the hit had been taken.
He then drove into the D and slotted the ball home and the umpire awarded the goal – much to Havant’s annoyance.
‘The free hit wasn’t in the right place,’ said Adams.
‘Our player was rolling in the ball so it was in the right place.
‘Tindall stepped in and nicked it trying to make out it was a pass.’
The home side could easily have made it 2-2 before the break but Mike Deller-Merricks’ shot was taken off the line by a defender.
Havant again came close to equalising early in the second half but their efforts continued to be well blocked.
Frustratingly, they then went down to 10 men following Sam Broadhurst’s yellow card on 50 minutes.
And while they were a player down, Tindall struck the decisive blow to make it 3-1.
The defeat also saw Maciej Janiszewski and Tomasz Nowicki bring their stays to an end. They will now return to Poland.