David Noble has said Oxford City's style is the blueprint for how he wants his St Albans City team to play.

Saints suffered the agony of defeat in the National League South play-off final, going down 4-0 to a home side who looked rampant at times.

And if they are to go one step further next season, they need to follow a similar plan.

"Credit to Oxford," said Noble. "They're a good side and coming into the play-offs, I thought it would be us and them in the final and that was the way it panned out. 

"They were just the much better team on the day.

"Ebbsfleet play [the same] way too and every league you look at, the top of the league is the best footballing style, whatever the level.

"It was just a step too far for this group of players."

Herts Advertiser: Ryan Blackman strides forward for St Albans City. Picture: PETER SHORTRyan Blackman strides forward for St Albans City. Picture: PETER SHORT (Image: Peter Short)

The game was done and dusted in the first half with Oxford going 2-0 up in 14 minutes and scoring all four by the break.

And the performance of the City team left the boss gutted.

He said: "I’m devastated, devastated to get this far after the season we’ve had and to put on a showing like that. 

"It was really hard to take but there's not much to say that the result would have been different.

"They're a good side, they’ve got really good players who look after the ball and that made it difficult for us to get it back. 

"Against teams that give the ball back to you, it's different, it's easier. 

"But if you keep giving the ball back to a team that doesn’t give it back to you, it becomes difficult. 

"And they punished us.

"I can't reflect on the season yet. Everyone has been saying that whatever the result, I should be proud of what we’ve done but I can't feel like that at the minute. 

"I'm disappointed we've put that sort of showing on as it wasn't really a fair reflection of us this year."

St Albans had a glorious chance inside the first minute but first Mitchell Weiss was denied by keeper Chris Haigh and then Chay Cooper stabbed the rebound wide.

It would have made a difference said the boss but he admitted they were their own worst enemies after that.

He said: "If you take the lead, it is a different story. And it was a really good one for Chay but I thought he went with the wrong foot. 

"Two-nil and the game isn’t away from us but three or four is a mountain to climb and we never looked like getting back in it. 

"We couldn't look after the ball. We were too static. 

"Granted, it's a difficult pitch and you can say they are used to it but it is the same pitch for both teams."  

And attention now will turn instantly to next season as Noble looks to build a squad in his image.

That will mean some tough decisions to come.

He said: "You have to improve the squad, that is key and ultimately, the squad this season has not been good enough to go up.  

"It was good enough to get to the play-off final but not quite good enough to go up. 

"We want to go one better next year."