MANAGER Mike Ford insists he is the man to get Evesham United out of Step 4 despite seeing his side's play-off hopes dealt a hammer blow by rivals Malvern Town on Easter Monday.

Jack Watts provided the assist for both Jordan Annear and Harry Clark's goals in the first-half as The Hillsiders recorded a 2-0 win that officially confirms their Step 4 status for next season.

The defeat was The Robins' third in a row in the league and leaves them four points off the Southern League Division One South play-off places with five games to go.

"We are on a run of not being great and I think a lot of the frustration comes from the fact there was a lot of expectation this season given where we finished last season (play-offs)," said Ford.

"This side has been at Step 4 for 20 years and when I inherited this ream, they had finished right down at the bottom of the table so we need to keep that sense of reality.

"But we need to get out of Step 4 and I am the man to do it."

But it now looks a tall order for that to happen this season. They have played a game more than two of the three teams vying to break into the play-off spots and their run of four games without a win hardly spells momentum at this crucial stage.

But Ford was still full of praise for his side after Monday's derby with Malvern: "I thought the performance overall was very good. But at the moment, we are conceding extremely poor goals.

"We dominated the ball, we had a couple of opportunities but then we lost the ball up the pitch and they (Malvern) scored. For the second, we mis-control the ball in front of the dugout and they hit a big diagonal ball to the back-post, where they controlled the ball in the box and scored.

"But I am not going to criticise my players, I know what they are like, they are a great group.

"The players played well but the ball did not fall for us. We had a goal ruled out for offside, we had a number of shots blocked, their keeper made a number of good saves.

"We have a lot of young players in the squad at the moment and we need to work with them. We don't want to find ourselves, in the summer, scrapping for a new squad when we already have a half-decent one here.

"I will always take responsibility for the team, the team is mine. The result today is mine."