TIRING Studley’s hopes of a top-three finish was ended as their losing run stretched to four games.

The Warwickshire outfit suffered two defeats as the effects of a heavy fixture backlog took its toll.

The Bees suffered a 2-1 loss at Stafford Town last Thursday and a 4-1 loss to Nuneaton Griff on Saturday.

Those defeats mean they can only finish as high as fifth in the Midland Combination Premier.

In recent weeks, Studley have been playing two or three matches a week, but the squad was further tested as players also had Sunday League matches to contend with.

The club have have four players in action for Austin Ex Apprentices, three who turn out for Black Horse, while there are two who perform for Church Hill.

Against, Stafford, Reece Hewitt scored for Studley but they were shot down by Judd Ellis and Joseph Woodward.

Two days later, Alex Naughton bagged a hat-trick and Aden Moore another for Nuneaton. Sam Wills hit the back of the net for Studley.

Studley manager Paul Smith said: “It has been a very tough week. We’ve had so many games and of course the lads have also been turning out for their Sunday League teams.

“I think some of our players were involved in seven matches in as many days and it’s a lot of games.

“I had a few harsh words with the players at half-time and we picked up but it was too late by then.”

Studley end the season with a double header against Atherstone, starting last night away, before ending the campaign at home to them on Saturday (3pm ko).

Smith joined the club last summer with a remit to try and return the Bees to the Midland Alliance after their relegation from the Midlands Alliance.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my first season at the club. They are a lot of good people here working very hard. I am disappointed with the way the season has ended because I wanted to finish higher up the table.

“But we’ve done a lot of hard work behind the scenes and it will stand us on good stead.”

In Division One, Feckenham defeated Knowle 3-0, with Ashley Bunn, Garrath Hodgetts and Lewis White scoring.