LEE Richardson urged his Oxford City Stars players to use their disappointment at losing control of their title bid as motivation for the run-in.

Their English National League South Division 2 play-off place was assured by Sunday’s 5-3 home win over Haringey Huskies, but the 6-2 loss to Solent Devils 24 hours earlier could prove crucial.

Stars now have to rely on the sides above them to slip up if they are to claim the crown.

Richardson, Stars’ acting player/coach, said: “We were all absolutely gutted to have let ourselves and the fans down.

“It was a big game and to lose after going 2-1 up isn’t acceptable.

“It was tough going into the match on Sunday knowing the title was out of our hands and we got off to a bad start.

“But we showed tremendous character to recover and win the game.

“The win moved us up to third in the table and secured our play-off place.

“We need to use the pain of Saturday to spur us on and ensure we keep the pressure on the teams above us for the rest of the season.”

“We’ll re-group and make sure we finish the season as strongly as possible.”

Stars were in pole position for an 11th straight win when goals from Josh Oliver and Michal Oravec put them 2-1 ahead early in the second period against Solent.

But the visitors levelled, before smashing four unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to dent the Stars’ hopes.

They did bounce back against Haringey, with Matt Lawday (2), Oravec, Darren Elliott and Martyn Gray on target.

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