HEBBURN Town boss Scott Oliver admits it will be a tall order for his side to achieve promotion now after their battling – but heartbreaking – defeat at rivals Washington on Saturday.
The Hornets lost 1-0 at the Nissan Sports Ground having played for 86 minutes with just 10 men.
Defender Ross Toward was sent off for bringing down Washington striker Chris Winn when he was the last man.
However, it took until 20 minutes from time for Washington to make their numerical advantage count when James Fairley scored a great goal to give his side all three points.
The result leaves Hebburn eight points off the promotion places, and while they still have games in hand they are now also relying on other teams dropping points.
Oliver said: “It’s out of our hands now.
“We’ve got to try and win all of our games we’ve got left and take it to the last day.”
Despite playing for almost the entire match with a man less, Hebburn were the better side for long periods and created a number of good chances.
Top goalscorer Channon North had three excellent opportunities either side of half-time, though Washington also threatened with Hornets goalkeeper Phil Holgate required to pull off two fine first-half saves.
Oliver added: “I’m very proud of my players.
“To have Ross Toward sent off so early changed the game. We ended up with Craig Malley and right-back and Shaun Reay at left wing but they did really well.
“We never stopped working hard and created the better chances, but their goal was a good move and good finish.”
Hebburn are now fifth, with Washington eight points ahead in third and Team Northumbria in second.