GRAHAM Howarth believes the Second Division title is now out of reach.
The Nelson boss watched his side lose 3-1 to FC United on Sunday, in front of 2,011 at Accrington's Interlink Express Stadium.
And he feels the breakaway club are destined to lift the silverware in their debut campaign.
However, he is still adamant promotion is firmly in their own hands.
He said: "We will hopefully pick three points up this weekend, and get back on track as soon as possible.
"We have a few games in hand, and if we win those we can get right in among the pack chasing second spot.
"All those sides, Padiham, Winsford and Flixton, have got to come to us yet, so it is still in our hands.
"At the end of the day if we win every game between now and the end of the season we will get promoted.
"All we can do is concentrate on ourselves, and not look for help here, there and everywhere.
"Realistically, FC United are going to win this league now. They have played Winsford twice, ourselves twice, and don't play Padiham again until the end of the season.
"Our realistic aim now is to finish second, and we will do everything we can to achieve that."
Nelson travel to Daisy Hill tomorrow (kick-off 3 p.m.) hoping to put Sunday's defeat firmly behind them.
But if ever there was a game of two halves, it was Sunday, and Howarth replied: "If we had done in the first half what we did in the second half, I think we would have won.
"But if you leave it wide open like we did, they will just pass it round you.
"They were reeling a bit towards the end, and you can't help but think, they were there for the taking in the second half.
"We might have got something from it if we had competed all game,but we didn't.
"But they are something else, although not as good as Cammell Laird last season and we drew with them.
"If we had played FC United behind close doors it might have been a different story as well, because with that sort of following you are always going to play better.
"We didn't do what we set out to do, and we made life difficult for our midfield.
"But the most disappointing thing is that is that they didn't do what we were asking them to.
"The last thing you say to them before they leave the dressing room, is to keep it tight for the first 15 minutes or so.
"And then what happens?, within three minutes your behind and chasing the game.
"Billy (Carrington) has had no chance with the first goal, but the man at the front post let it go!
"In my day if it came to you, you got rid and asked questions later!
"But we can't dwell on that now, that first goal changed the course of the game and it was disappointing."
He added: "I really thought we were going to go there and give them a really tough game.
"In the second half, we did exactly that, but its too late when your 3-0 down at half- time.
"At the end of the day we won the second half 1-0, but that's what I told them to do at half time.
"It was a case of going out there and showing people what Nelson Football Club are made of, because we didn't show that in the first half.
"They were more than 2,000 people there, and they must have thought we were a poor team in the first half.
"I told them to go out there and show them that we weren't and to be fair that is exactly what I got."