Graham Westley was forced to run to the Lamex Stadium to make kick-off and admitted he was not the only one feeling tired after Stevenage’s 1-0 defeat to Port Vale.
Westley was caught up in pre-match traffic and had to abandon his car in Welwyn in order to reach the ground in time.
But his mood did not improve as Tom Pope’s late penalty saw Stevenage slip to the bottom of the English Football League with just two wins from 26 league matches.
“Energy was always going to be an issue,” he said.
“I’m not going to start staring at others around us at the bottom. I’m going to focus on us and our next game.
“We had to get a lot right to win that game. We battled and fought and created some good chances.
“We’re not going to stand here at the end of the season talking about what might have been.
“It didn’t feel like a game we were ever going to lose, so to lose it I’m gutted – but I wanted to win it, so a draw would have felt like a defeat.
“We just have to win games. You’ve watched a lot of sides down the bottom go and win four or five games on the bounce and put themselves in promotion contention.”
Stevenage goalkeeper Paul Farman pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the hosts in the game, denying David Worrall twice in the opening eight minutes.
Both teams had chances but the winner came just a few minutes from time, Pope sparking jubilant scenes as he made no mistake from 12 yards when Tom Conlon was hauled down by Elliott List.
“I’m obviously very pleased to get the result in difficult conditions,” said Vale manager John Askey. “I thought we played some really good football at times.
“It looked like it was going to be a 0-0 until Tom [Pope] got the penalty.
“What’s pleasing is we came here and stood up to them. The attitude they’ve shown has been fantastic.
“It’s difficult after coming from something like that [FA Cup game against Manchester City] because it’s a big occasion.
“But we can start again now with this win. It creates a gap between us and the teams below us and we’re only six points off third place.
“If we can go to Morecambe and make it back-to-back wins then we’ll be in a really good position.
“It’s a very important time. We know between now and the end of the season we’ll have to keep battling.”