LEE Richardson says Oxford City Stars will come back stronger from their disappointing exit in the English National League South Division 2 play-offs.

A 6-1 defeat to eventual runners-up Solent Devils in the semi-finals at Bracknell ended their campaign.

Chelmsford Chieftains won the season-ending competition between the division’s top four clubs, claiming a 4-2 success in the final.

Stars, who won the league and national cup double last season, were never at the races as Darren Elliott’s final appearance for the club ended in defeat.

They found themselves 6-0 down, before Josh Florey scored a consolation towards the end of the final period.

Stars’ acting head coach Richardson was frustrated to not be able to reward a strong following.

He said: “Saturday was a massive disappointment and on behalf of the coaching staff and players I’d like to say sorry to the fans.

“They turned out in great numbers again and we didn’t perform, which is unusual for us.”

He added: “Overall it has been a decent season.

“If a table for the top four teams was shown as just games between us all we would be top.

“So it was massively disappointing to go into such a big game and not play well.

“There were periods of the game I felt we did play how we could and should.

“But there was too much of the game where we just weren’t good enough.

“As a coach I have to take a large chunk of the blame and learn from it all.

“It was a sad way to end a good season. We will come back stronger.”

Solent took the lead after 39 seconds through Alex Murray.

Stars already had a mountain to climb at the end of the first period as James Russell Hounsome and Alexander Trendall scored to make it 3-0.

Ben James Lock and Mark Pitts added to Solent’s tally, before it became 6-0 when Richard Facey netted.

Stars were already soundly beaten, but Florey struck late on, assisted by Matt Lawday and Mike Whillock.