Uppingham Town said goodbye to hopes of finishing runners-up in the PDFL Premier League after they could manage only a goalless draw at home to Sawtry on Tuesday night.
The rather lack-lustre performance was in contrast to a polished 3-0 win over Leverington on Saturday, but ambitions to finish third in the league are still alive.
Young players have stepped up to the mark to maintain Uppingham’s challenge in the closing stages of the season, as key players have been out injured.
But on Tuesday - and in the previous midweek game, when a Martin Turiccki goal earned a 1-1 draw at Coates Athletic - Uppingham seemed to lack energy.
One conclusion has to be that it’s a big ask for the willing youngsters to play twice a week.
Uppingham were not helped by the absence of influential midfielder Rob Forster, and his energy in an attacking role was sorely missed.
Teenager Ryan Waller, who had an outstanding 90 minutes on the left wing on Saturday, had a quieter game on Tuesday and enjoyed less service from his colleagues.
And Sawtry were a big, physical side, whose style Uppingham sometimes found hard to match.
But for all that, Uppingham had plenty of chances and at times the game was there for the taking. Their best chance in the first half followed a goalkeeping error which presented the ball to Turiccki, but he put it wide.
And in the second half the prolific marksman missed the target when he was through one-on-one.
Saturday’s win was notable for the contributions of Waller, Johnny Foster at right back and Jimmy Howe in midfield in the absence of first choice players, including injured skipper Martin Bennett.
Leverington started well and were a match for their opponents in the opening exchanges, but Uppingham went on to control the first half.
The breakthrough came with the first of two goals in the game from the outstanding Turiccki, who beat two men on the edge of the box before firing home following good work by Waller.
Uppingham should have converted more of the many chances they created, but they put the game beyond doubt soon after the interval, when Turickki scored another fine goal.
Then, on the hour Howe capped a notable afternoon for him when he added the third, following good work by Will Thomas.
Uppingham are hoping to have Rob Forster back today (Saturday) when they face Whittlesey Blue Star, but will be without Will Thomas (toe injury) and Mark Dimech, who is out for the rest of the season.