Blackstones are beaten by Hinckley in Division One of the United Counties League
Manager Lloyd Burton felt his Blackstones side had ended their season with a decent display in Saturday's last match of the campaign against high-flying Hinckley.
Stones went down to a 4-2 home reversal against the United Counties League Division One runners-up at the Torney Limited Stadium.
Josh Edmondson's goal had given Stones the lead before Hinckley hit back to race into a 3-1 advantage.
Scott Waumsley cut the gap close to half-time before Hinckley sealed the success with a fourth goal just past the hour mark.
Burton said: "We put in a decent performance on Saturday.
"Hinckley did not come to rest players for sure ahead of the play-offs and the comments from their manager was clear that he was not happy when we went 1-0 up.
"We also did have two fantastic chances to at least get a point in the last 10 minutes but unfortunately didn't take them."
Stones had been beaten 8-0 in the first meeting of the season between the two teams before Burton and assistant Jan Czarnecki had taken the helm.
They hit the front on Saturday when Edmondson turned home a cross from Waumsley after 12 minutes.
Despite the hiccup for the visitors, Hinckley began to show their class and tightened their grip on the game.
They equalised just before the half-hour mark when Ryan Harkin drove in a shot which just eluded the fingertips of home goalkeeper Simon Dalton.
Harkin then scored twice more in the next nine minutes to complete a rapid hat-trick and put Hinckley in control of the contest.
However, Stones continued to mount attacks on the visitors' goal and were rewarded just before half-time when Waumsley broke clear and slotted the ball wide of the keeper and into the bottom right of the net.
The second half kicked off with Stones throwing everything at the visitors but, as the half progressed, the efforts of the first half, battling against a disciplined defence and the strong easterly wind began to show in the legs.
It still took some inspired goalkeeping from the Hinckley custodian to maintain the advantage with the fourth goal from Isa Abrahamu then effectively sealing the points for the visitors.
The defeat means Stones will finish second-from-bottom of the table with their likely destination for next season unclear.
Unofficial projections for next season have suggested that Stones will still retain their step six status on a points per game basis.
Since Burton and Czarnecki were appointed at the end of November, there has been an upturn in Stones' fortunes and the manager is hoping it might be enough to prevent relegation.
He said: "We started in December with two wins and a draw but then had the Christmas break and the Bourne game was postponed due to coronavirus and we never really got it back as a team after four weeks off.
"We did push teams close with us being ahead in games on many occasions, but unfortunately we lacked in big decision-making moments.
"We have taken points from half of the 20 games but unfortunately needed more.
"On the other hand if the Football Association decide to move teams again we have certainly pushed up our points per game average which could be important when it comes to relegation or forming any leagues.
"Our ground is fantastic and I can definitely say it's a far better standard than many we have visited this season so we will just have to see what the future holds for us all."
Stones: Dalton, Walton (Treweek), Wallace, Goodale, Parker-Meadows, Cox, Wilson (Gargan), Neves, Edmundson (Pilbeam), Waumsley, Pike. Subs not used: Page, Sakovich.