HARWICH and Parkeston manager Mike Wallace felt his side showed "heart, desire and hunger" in their derby defeat against Little Oakley.

Although they lost 3-1 in Saturday's Thurlow Nunn League first division south showdown, the Shrimpers boss was more than satisfied with his team's performance and believes it offered cause for optimism heading into 2020.

"I've had fans coming up to me saying they appreciated the lads' work-rate and could see they put a shift in," he said.

"Obviously that's not more important than the result but it still means a lot.

"We can take a lot of positives and encouragement from it.

"I was proud of the boys and honestly don't feel we've got anything to worry about going forward.

"Obviously it was disappointing to lose but I was proud of the performance.

"In the last three games, our performances have been getting better and better and I like the fact the boys were so disappointed to lose.

"It shows their heart and desire.

"We've got to take this positivity into the next game.

"I don't ever want to lose but there were more positives than negatives.

"The only negative was the result, given the way the lads played.

"There's still a lot of work to do but in that first half we could have been two or three-up.

"It's another building block and another part of the jigsaw.

"We've set ourselves a target for the new year. Let's see how we get on.

"If we play like we did in that first half, with that heart, desire and hunger, then we're not going to lose many games."

Harwich made a dream start after taking a fourth-minute lead through Ryan McGibbon.

But after Rory Harman was sent off shortly before half-time, the pendulum swung Oakley's way and they responded with goals from Greg Rodger, Harry Mann and Danny Garrad.

"The sending off changed the game," said Wallace.

"For the first 40 minutes, we more than matched them, considering they're top of the table.

"We just made one mistake and were punished.

"It wasn't going to be the kind of game you could play good football in, because of the pitch.

"But we were disciplined, worked hard and scored a wonder goal through Ryan.

"Oakley played the better football in the second half and our players struggled a bit when they went 4-3-3.

"They really made the most of their extra man."

Twelfth-placed Harwich have no game this weekend and return to action at Hackney Wick next Saturday.