A sombre and reflective Steve Evans felt his side may have gone to the well one too many times after Stevenage came up short in their hunt for the League One play-offs.

A 2-1 defeat at home to Burton Albion left an appearance in the end of season party hugely unlikely.

That is tough on his side according to the boss but ultimately the hardships of the season caught up with them.

The Comet: Jamie Reid's shot after the List lob is deflected over. Picture: TGS PHOTOJamie Reid's shot after the List lob is deflected over. Picture: TGS PHOTO (Image: TGS Photo)

Evans said: "If we're summarising the last four or five weeks, other than perhaps Bolton and Barnsley, we’ve ran out of energy a little, ran out of gas. 

"But I'm not here to criticise a group of players who are probably going to fall short [by a few points]. 

"It’s been an incredible effort. 

"Taking Burton in isolation, they scored with virtually their first attack in first half and then with their first of the second half. 

"But we never did enough. We never had enough good play or enough forward momentum. 

"We looked jaded. We tried to get players onto the pitch that would give us a little bit of that. 

"[Dan] Butler got sent off so there’s a little bit of indiscipline that cost us at a key time, but the kid has been absolutely outstanding for us over the season. 

"We'll go to Oxford and we'll try and be competitive in fairness to those [still] trying to get in there but I'll probably have to go in today and accept that as far as this season and the play-offs is concerned, then that’s us done." 

A goal in first-half stoppage time by Mark Helm gave the Brewers the lead, with a number of Stevenage players looking like the efforts in midweek had caught up with them.

A double change at the break threatened to bring them level but Butler's sending off on 61 minutes did them no favours.

Tom Hamer then made it 2-0 before Kane Hemmings added a late consolation.

Evans though was still wanting to look at the positives in a season that could still see them finish in the top 10.

He said: "I think a lot of people would have taken fifth from bottom at the start of the year in all honesty. 

"There has been an incredible amount of hard work from everyone and I can only applaud the players. 

"We lacked a little here but I’m not a manager that throws them in the river when they've had some really sunny bright days. 

"I said this a few weeks ago, there’s not been game since I’ve been here that has not had something resting on it. 

"That includes Burton and so to use an old expression, we’ve gone to the well and we've just found it a little bit dry for the last few weeks. 

"That's not criticising determination or application or effort. The boys have given me absolutely everything. 

"They will reflect in the summer and when they go away and put their feet in the sea, they’ll think they've had a brilliant season in League One. 

"But the benchmark has been set [for next year]."