Walton Casuals boss Mark Hams has poured water on any hopes of reaching the Division One South play-offs.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at promotion chasing Leatherhead leaves the Stags seventh in the table, eight points off the play-off places, but having played up to two games more than their rivals.
Ahead of this weekend’s visit of Horsham, Hams’ side have won just once in seven games, whereas they began the season losing just two of the first 11 games.
He said: “We have done better than we expected, and there may yet be a twist in the league positions, but we’re not as strong as them.
“We’re not giving up on the play-offs, but we have got to be realistic.
“My knowledge of this league tells me we need to win 10 out of 16 games, and then rely on two or three teams capitulating and you have got to have a lot of luck on your side for those two ingredients to come together.”
He added: “I am not saying it cannot be done, but something dramatic has got to happen. “But we were not disgraced at Leatherhead , we were not walked all over like we were down at Peacehaven & Telscombe.
“You can barely get a cigarette paper between the very top sides, like Peacehaven & Telscombe, Leatherhead, Guernsey and Hasting United.
“But between them and us, there is more like a cigarette packet.”
Tuesday night’s clash with Folkestone Invicta was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.