MELKSHAM Town manager Kieran Baggs admits his side’s chances of featuring in the Southern League Division One South play-offs are probably over after a 1-0 loss away at promotion rivals Cinderford Town on Tuesday, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

Melksham had beaten Slimbridge 3-1 on Saturday to record 15 points from a possible 18 in recent weeks, but fell to a first-half goal to Cinderford that looks to have derailed any outside chance at finishing in the top five.

Luke Ballinger netted his 99th and century of goals for Melksham in the victory against Slimbridge, with Neikell Plummer also on the scoresheet.

But after a mixed bag of results in the past week that have left Town four points off fifth, Baggs has now resigned himself to simply trying to push his team on to finishing inside the top eight.

He said: “I think you could probably say the play-offs are gone now.

“We were hanging in there as the last team that could sneak in, but with Cirencester, Winchester and Cinderford in such good form, we’re not likely to catch them.

“And with the squad that we’ve got, I just feel like maybe it’s been stretched too far.

“We’d won five out of the last six before Tuesday night – the Slimbridge result on Saturday was probably a routine win for us.

“We went ahead early and could have been 2-0 up before half-time, but we went into top gear for 15 minutes in the second half and put the game to bed.

“I was disappointed to concede a goal right at the end, but overall, we never looked in too much trouble.”

Baggs was left frustrated at being asked to travel for over an hour and a half through rush-hour traffic in midweek, but said his players did not show any adverse side-effects to the long trip.

And after having a late penalty waved away, the Melksham manager felt his team were more than worthy of taking a point from the game.

He said: “Cinderford is not an ideal place to go on a Tuesday night. After all, the boys had been at work, but the performance levels and the energy levels that we produced were absolutely fantastic.

“We were really unlucky not to get a point out of the game. I wouldn’t say we did enough to win it, but we certainly didn’t deserve to lose.”