A LUCKLESS season for Ellesmere Port continued at the weekend when rain wiped out the Cheshire Alliance Division One programme.
Phil Ashton's team now has just four games to play to save themselves from relegation - and fate has dealt them yet another cruel hand.
The next three fixtures see them take on leaders Chester-County Officers this weekend, with title-chasers Wistaston and Stalybridge St Paul's to follow.
The last game of the season could be a really tense contest as Port face fellow relegation battlers Sandbach.
'It is a challenging run-in,' said Port captain Ashton. 'But I have been confident all season and I am still confident.
'I know we have a good team and all the players are still fired up, no-one has let their heads go down.
'A couple of years ago we were in a similar position and we had to beat the league's top sides in order to stay up and we did it.'
Port have had plenty of luck this season - all of it bad!
'I don't like looking for excuses,' said Ashton. 'But when you lose six players - six of your best performers - to broken fingers it does have a serious impact.
'You can afford to lose a man here and there from the team, but to miss that many I don't think there is a team at this level who could deal with that.
'We had to and the players who stepped in did a good job and gained valuable experience but our season has suffered.'
Ashton admits the weather could have a key role to play in Port's struggle for survival.
'The games being rained off at the weekend was devastating,' he said.
'It helps the teams above us because it keeps us from gaining ground on them.
'We desperately need to play games to earn our right to a place in this division.
'No team is too good to go down. All season teams have been telling me they thought we would be challenging for honours and they can't understand why we are struggling.
'But the fact is that we are and no matter how highly we are regarded, we could go down. I don't believe we will though.'
* In Division Three of the Meller Braggins League, Castrol's home game against Alderley Park was rained off.