LES JONES feels Pershore Town’s narrow defeat to table-toppers Shifnal Town only proved they have got what it takes to be promotion challengers.
The Plums boss admitted the squad was left deflated after losing 3-2 at the Shropshire side, having struck first but then playing 70 minutes with ten men.
Midfielder Tom Harding fired Pershore ahead after a slick move sliced through the defence, only to be then sent off for a challenge on 20 minutes.
They had chances to add to their tally, with James Baldwin being denied by the home keeper, and, although Shifnal hit back, Dane Aldington restored their lead after converting in a scramble following a corner.
However, goals from Jay Holdcroft, Kyle Montague and Brad Sharman gave Shifnal victory.
Pershore, now eighth but only five points off the top four, will look to bounce back on Saturday when fellow promotion-chasers Worcester Raiders visit the Community Stadium and Jones says the Shifnal game will only increase their belief.
“The lads put in a fantastic shift – they played really well,” he said. “If we play likes that every week, we will win 95 per cent of our games.
“That’s a big positive to go to the top of the table side, to play with ten men for 70 minutes and to come away feeling we should have taken the three points.
“We were bitterly disappointed not to get the result. We were 1-0 up at half-time and although they got a goal straight away in the second half the lads showed tremendous character to go 2-1 up.
“We just quite couldn’t hold on. A couple of iffy sessions turned the game their way and we were pressing for an equaliser towards the end.”
Jones felt Harding’s red card was harsh and not helped by the reaction to the tackle by Shifnal’s players who surrounded the referee.
“It was a genuine attempt for the ball and I felt it was a yellow card,” said the manager.
Harding is now expected to be banned for three matches and will join the unavailable Jamie Clarke and the injured Jordan Hayward who has aggravated a knee injury playing for his university team and is awaiting the verdict from a consultant.