Mark Ward blamed a lack of desire for his AFC Mansfield side’s 2-0 NPL East Division defeat at 10-man Belper Town on Saturday.
“I don’t think we hurt them enough with our work,” the manager said after the game.
“The difference between the two teams was the desire in both boxes — in one to score goals and to keep them out at the other end.”
Belper scored twice in the second period either side of having Alex Peterson sent off.
Ward said that the presence of Belper target man Danny South was something his team most certainly lacked.
“It’s massive for any team,” he added.
“When you’ve got that outlet and presence in good areas all around the pitch, nine times out of 10 you’re going to win the battle.
“For 10 minutes after he (Peterson) got sent off we had some good opportunities and we put balls in good areas — and with the extra man we should be making that count.
“But we’re putting balls into the box and their centre-halves are getting free headers.
“We had the extra man, so it’s frustrating for me that we haven’t got players who want to go and stick the ball in the back of the net.”
After a goalless first half which saw little action, Danny South headed home Craig Nelthorpe’s pinpoint cross before Peterson saw a second yellow for the hosts.
But the Bulls were unable to take advantage of their 10-15 minute spell of dominance which followed.
The match was settled when former AFC man George Milner put team-mate Derry Robson clean through on goal, allowing Robson to drive the ball into Jason White’s bottom corner.
The away side almost halved the deficit in the third minute of added time when Ollie Fearon was played through on goal, but his weak finish was saved by the feet of Sebastian Malkowski.
The former Polish international’s late save ensured the Nailers picked up their first clean sheet in the league since November.
The defeat left the Bulls 15th, five points clear of the bottom two.