Gosport Borough are hoping to bounce back from their opening-day defeat when they make the long journey to Bideford in the Southern League premier division tonight (7.45pm).
Borough suffered late despair as they went down 2-1 to Barwell at Privett Park on Saturday.
It was not the triumphant return to the top flight they had hoped for, as four minutes into stoppage-time the visitors snatched the win with a fluke goal.
Borough boss Alex Pike felt it was harsh on his side who more than matched one of the division’s fancied outfits over the 90 minutes.
‘We outplayed them and controlled the majority of the game,’ said the Borough manager.
‘It was a cruel slice of luck that did us in the end.
‘At this level it is vital you take your chances and we didn’t do that.
‘Our poor finishing let us down.
‘We are also conceding too many goals and must look to keep more clean sheets.
‘After losing a poor goal before half-time, we got ourselves back into it to level the scores.
‘We couldn’t legislate for their lucky winner, though.’
Bideford were promoted alongside Borough last season – albeit as south & west division champions.
However, the west country outfit also lost their opening game – 2-1 at Bedworth.
While Bideford will be just as determined to get their season up and running tonight, Pike remains optimistic his side can open their account by at least repeating last year’s 2-2 draw in north Devon.
‘Bideford away is always a tough game – particularly when it is midweek,’ said the boss.
‘Players have to take time off work and then endure a four-and-a-half hour coach journey.
‘We have to expect and cope with it if we expect to cope at this level.
‘It is important to be mentally tough and to concentrate for the whole 90 minutes plus.
‘If we can do that there is no reason why we can’t do well.’
Pike names an unchanged squad.
GOSPORT: Ashmore, Gofton, Jones G, Molyneux, Cox, Holland, Cook, Poate, Coutts, Igoe, King, Smith, Brown, Martin, Wilde, Kirby, Bennett, Norton, Wooden, Humble