Bobby Wilkinson has vowed Wealdstone will keep fighting in their bid to reach the National League South play-offs, but acknowledged he faces a hard task to lift his players after their Wembley dream was dashed.

Stones were beaten 2-0 by Brackley Town on Saturday as the National League North outfit reached Wembley with a 3-0 aggregate victory in the FA Trophy semi-finals. Barely 48 hours after that big disappointment though, Wilkinson’s men will be back in action at Grosvenor Vale tonight as they face Eastbourne Borough in the first of two home games this week.

Wealdstone go into the match 13th in the table, 10 points off the play-offs, but they do have at least two games in hand on all the teams in the top-seven due to their trophy run.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season in the wake of Saturday’s defeat, Stones boss said: “It’s so important now. Can we keep our season alive? Can we keep moving forward? Can we get some points? I’ll certainly be trying and working hard. It’s going to be tough to pick them back up but now we need to show a different side of our character and believe.”

Wilkinson continued: “Are we going to lie down and give up when we’ve still got a massive chance with games in hand or are we going to fight and keep fighting? One thing I will promise is I’ll make sure these players keep fighting.

“I think everyone needs to realise it’s been a brilliant season for what we’ve achieved, from coming in at the end of August and to get to the semi-final and have your last tie at home to get to Wembley, you would have only dreamt of that at the start of the season.

“Everyone needs to dust themselves down after tonight, drown our sorrows, I’m devastated, I’m not going to lie, but we have to go again.”

Stones offered little as an attacking force on Saturday until Shane Byrne doubled Brackley’s aggregate advantage from a free-kick early in the second half and Wilkinson made a triple change.

Stones boss admitted: “I thought in the first hour the game passed a few players by, but I think we were giving too many free-kicks away.

“Some of these players are better than what they showed at times today and I feel for them. Everyone wanted it. They’re in the floor in there in bits, everyone’s in bits to be honest, but I think you’re right.

“We had a go in the last half-hour, that’s how they got their third goal, but I had to throw the kitchen sink at it.

“Up until the free-kick the game plan was working well, because we were hoping to be in the game with 25 minutes to go and then get a corner or a free-kick then we would score and go on then and hopefully get the second. But when they scored their goal you could see the game plan had gone and then we had to throw everything at it.

“I knew their game plan and they could keep a clean sheet, so we had to try something. We had a go but we just gave away too many free-kicks, even when we didn’t have to and were defending well.

“We have to manage the game a lot better on and off the park, but today wasn’t our day and the better side over two legs deserved to get to Wembley.”