IT has been a season of dashed hopes at Breightmet United.

Key players have departed, one to the other end of Europe, and new faces have come in as Paul Roberts has tried to steer the ship through the choppy waters of Division Two.

And as the turn of the year approaches you cannot help but feel the manager expected more from the squad he had in the summer.

Breightmet were defeated 3-2 by Bolton Lads and Girls Club on their all-weather surface on Saturday, a result that sent the hosts to the top of Division Two.

The afternoon had started slowly for the visitors, who fell behind just when it seemed they had begun to find their feet.

They drew level towards the end of the half though, Gary McShane making no mistake from the penalty spot.

Osman Karakan put Breightmet ahead in the second half, finishing neatly from Durrell George’s ball into the box.

But they would leave empty-handed as they conceded twice, firstly through giving the ball away on the edge of their own box. The winning goal for Bolton L&G came when the defence was caught out of position as they claimed a throw-in, never making up the ground.

For United manager Paul Roberts it was yet another game in which a strong showing from his team failed to bring its rewards.

“I was pleased with the performance but not the result, and that’s how it’s been going for us recently,” he told The Bolton News.

“We played well, as we have been doing in the last few weeks, we came back from 2-0 down to draw with Boothstown, who are in Division One, last week, so we have been doing okay, it’s just the results that we’re not pleased with.

“We have had some bad performances but we’ve managed to keep those to the Murray Trophy games, most of the bad results have come in that, so I’m not too concerned with that.

“We’ve got a semi-final in the Atherton Cup to come towards the end of the season so until then we’ll just try to pick up as many points in the league as we can and see what happens.”

With one league game remaining in the year, a week on Saturday at home to Govan Athletic, Roberts is hopeful for a more settled side in 2018.

He has not been able to name the same starting team in consecutive games and has had the heart ripped out of his squad.

“We had a big, and a good, squad at the start of the season but we lost a few key players,” he revealed. “Dragos Barbu has gone back to Romania and Junior Ralphson got a new job that put him out of contention, so that was our centre midfield gone.

“We’ve had a few come back and been bringing in a few new lads as well, though we could probably do with one or two more. Nathan Coyne has come in and done well in the midfield and Preston Daniel should be back from Australia and Andrei Dragusin from Romania by the time the Govan game comes around.

“You would have thought we’d be in for an easier season after dropping into Division Two but with the reorganisation it’s tough, it’s more like there’s two Division Ones, and we don’t know half of the new teams that came in so it’s been harder for us to prepare.

“It’s been a strange season, I don’t feel like Bolton Lads and Girls, or anyone in this division, is better than us, but we haven’t been getting the results and that’s down to us. We’ve no excuses though, that we’re in this division and that we’re down in seventh, is down to us.

“The top teams are pulling away now and I’ve not given up hope but all we can do for this season is try to keep improving and finish as high as we can.”