St Andrews boss Craig Morrison admitted his side passed up a good opportunity to strengthen their promotion cause at the weekend.
The Saints welcomed mid-table Dunbar to Barnetts Park on Saturday but were unable to keep the points at home, losing out 1-0.
The result means Saints stay in fourth place, but have a chasing pack behind them with games in hand.
Morrison, though, wasn’t too hard on his side after the game, saying the performance was still an improvement on the week before when they were shot down 3-0 by Thornton Hibs.
The Saints boss added: “It was an opportunity missed for us but to be honest I still thought we were the better team.
“All we lacked was a bit of penetration in the final third.
“We had a lot of the ball and looked after it pretty well.
“It was just that bit of creativity which let us down.
“Fair play to Dunbar, though, they got their goal and defended really well.
“That’s the last two weeks we’ve been beaten which isn’t great from our point of view.”
St Andrews United won’t have a chance to get the Dunbar defeat out of their system this weekend when they start their festive break.
Manager Morrison is hoping to keep his side busy over the festive period with some intense training sessions and also has a friendly with Newburgh Juniors lined up.
St Andrews United head into 2018 perfectly placed to end the season on a real high.
United are currently sitting in fourth spot in the McBookie.com East Premier League.
If you’d have offered Morrison that at the start of a season where they only avoided relegation due to a league restructure after Kelty Hearts left the junior game, he’d have taken it.
There have been opportunities missed along the way so far for Saints to have been even better placed, but Morrison is still content with how his side has started the campaign.
He said: “We were disappointed to lose on Saturday against Dunbar but no team is going to go through a season undefeated.
“The break has maybe come at a good time for us really.
“We started the season looking to get into the top four and whatever happens now we’ll end the year there.
“We have played a couple of games more than some teams but it’s a big thing for me to be starting 2018 inside the top four.
“It gives us a platform to go and build from when we start playing again.”
This campaign has been night and day from United’s efforts last season.
A wretched run of results saw them barely get away from the foot of the division, with relegation seemingly inevitable as the term ended.
Then came Kelty’s move out of the leagues and a reprieve St Andrews have made the most of.
“We’ve come a long way from where we were last season,” said Morrison.
“Certainly a couple of performances could have been better but in this league we’ve found out that anybody can beat anybody.
“If we can continue what we’ve been doing well in the first half of the season then we’ll be there or there abouts.”