PAUL DAVIS has set Stratford Town a target of winning at least five of their remaining 15 games to ensure they remain a Step Three club.
Town failed to build on their much-needed win at Redditch United when they went down to a 4-2 defeat at AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend.
The result left them fourth from bottom, just above the drop zone and five points clear of third-bottom Alvechurch who have four games in hand.
Town head to 14th-placed Kings Langley on Saturday, looking to bounce back against the hosts who upset title-chasers Bromsgrove Sporting last week.
Then on Tuesday Town are at home to 17th-placed Hitchin Town.
“I think we’ve now got to win a third of our games to stay in this division,” Davis told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association.
“Redditch are probably already gone but there’s still time for St Ives to have a go and we’ve got to be careful of Alvechurch.
“Kings Langley beat Bromsgrove last week so that’s going to be another tough game.”
Stratford will be hoping hot-shot Dan Sweeney is available for the trip to Kings Langley after the Solihull Moors loanee limped off five minutes from time, having scored both Town goals.
A gluepot of a pitch hardly helped Stratford but Diamonds took advantage of defensive hesitancy to lead 2-0 after half an hour.
Jesse Akubuine smashed home the first after Greg Kaziboni’s shot was blocked on 24 minutes and Kaziboni pounced when Kynan Isaac dallied in dealing with a long ball to set up Ben Acquaye to fire past James Pardington.
Sweeney converted a penalty to give Town hope five minutes later after the forward had been fouled by Jack Ashton.
Sweeney fired wide as Town sensed an equaliser six minutes into the second half but Rushden, outmuscling the visitors, added a third on 63 minutes through Liam Dolan’s header.
Seven minutes later it was 4-1 after substitute Ben Farrell converted after Pardington parried Akubine’s shot but Town had the last word when Sweeney smashed home 12 minutes from time.
“I thought that we did alright and we created some good chances in the right areas,” said Davis.
“But the pitch was dreadful. It was the worst I’ve seen here and it suited their style of play better. They didn’t do things differently to what they normally do.
“I felt we were on top early on but individuals have got to do better for their goals. We should have cleared the first one and for the second Kynan simply has to do deal with it. He’s an experienced player and should know what to do in that situation.
“Then the third goal was from a long throw-in from which they should never score from and it has to be defended better.”