Inexperience is hurting Knaresborough Town, according to boss Brian Davey.
Town went down to their fifth straight defeat at home to Shirebrook Town on Tuesday night to leave them languishing in 18th spot in NCEL Division One.
Matt Duerden was forced off in the first half due to blurred vision and Shirebrook took full advantage with goals either side of half time before Jamie York added a third in the final minute.
However, Knaresborough were without several key players for the clash, and Davey feels that has proven costly during their poor run.
Will Lenehan was suspended while Colin Heath, Danny Wright (both injured), Byron Littlefair (holiday) and Liam Tuck (work) were also missing.
Davey handed a debut to Ian Ward, a striker from Lincoln who normally plays in the Midlands league.
“We are struggling a little bit,” he said. “We are short of players. As soon as we get a few back we lose some more.
“We had eight regulars missing against Shirebrook, and Blaine Hobson and Tom Ryder have had operations, so that makes 10 players missing.
“We are having to play a lot of young players and play people in positions they don’t normally player.
“When you have young players, they are very quiet. After we lost Matty, there didn’t seem to be the same drive and passion.
“It’s very hard to get through that. When a goal goes against you, the heads seem to drop.”
Knaresborough have also signed Tadcaster Albion young forward Olly Smith, who was set to make his debut for the Reserves against Leeds City last night, after the Post went to press. Smith was released by York City’s youth set-up at the end of last season. He has joined on a month’s loan.
Lenehan, Tuck, Heath, Littlefair and Wright should all return into the first team set-up for Saturday’s visit of Bottesford Town.
Bottesford have picked up 11 points in seven matches this season, but were a force to be reckoned with last campaign.
Yorkshire Amateur will host Knaresborough on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile. Town’s reserves were cast to one side by West Yorkshire Premier favourites Field 5-1 on Saturday.
Fraser Lancaster sent an 11th minute penalty wide and the Leeds side made them pay with five goals in the next 40 minutes.
Lancaster managed to get his first goal of the campaign in the second period from Ben Clayton’s pass. And despite an improved second half, Boro were unable to close the gap.
The Reserves travel to Brighouse Old Boys on Saturday.