A proverbial game of two halves.
That was how Gosport Borough manager Alex Pike described his side’s 2-1 Vanarama Conference South defeat at home to Whitehawk on Saturday.
Two defensive errors in the opening half hour – leading to goals from Hawks duo Danny Mills and Frantz Ngassa – proved to be Borough’s undoing.
Justin Bennett reduced the arrears in the second-half from the penalty spot as the hosts rallied in search of a point.
But the late dismissal of defender Brett Poate for a challenge on Sergio Makogo brought a premature end to those hopes.
Borough finished the game at Privett Park with only nine men on the pitch as Rory Williams was injured in stoppage-time with Pike already using all of his available substitutions.
That ensured a second successive league defeat as Borough’s boss was left to mull over his side’s lacklustre first-half display.
‘I’m disappointed with the first-half performance, as that has ultimately cost us the game,’ said Pike.
‘That was probably the worst first-half I’ve had to witness so far this season.
‘It was little short of diabolical.
‘We’re not a side that plays the offside trap, yet I’ve got players stepping up and stepping in, which causes problems, like for the first goal.
‘The second one, although it was a fluke, where their player has gone to tackle (Lee) Molyneaux and it’s come off his shin and into the top corner.
‘When you’re not defending well, that’s the type of luck you get.’
Borough went in goalless at the break, having created a couple of half chances towards the end of the opening period without seriously testing former Pompey keeper John Sullivan in the Whitehawk goal.
After the break, though, the home side came out determined to fight their way back into the game.
Bennett confidently dispatched his second penalty of the season after strike partner Matt Paterson was brought down by Ngassa to give Borough renewed belief.
And although the spirited hosts were on top for vast periods of the remaining 35 minutes, they were unable to conjure the all-important equaliser.
Despite the defeat, Pike was pleased with the manner of his side’s response.
He said: ‘When you’re 2-0 down, it can go one of two ways.
‘You either cave in and let in five, or you put up a fight and give it a good go.’
‘We brought on two wingers and some fresh legs up front with Lee Wort.
‘From then, I thought there was only one team that was going to score.’
Nathan Ashmore was still needed to stay on his toes in the closing stages though, with Ahmed Abdulla forcing the Gosport stopper into two fantastic saves to keep his side in contention.
It wasn’t enough though, and despite the home side creating more than enough chances to get something out of the game, they fell to a second straight defeat – a loss which leaves Borough in 16th place in the early standings.
‘Whatever way you want to dress it up, we lost the game because of our first half performance,’ added Pike.
‘Every game in this league is tough, especially if the team plays like they did in the first half.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Molyneaux, Williams, Carter, Poate, Pearce, Dunford, Ramsey (Wooden 58), Paterson (Wort 82), Bennett, Wilde (Paco Saez 58). Unused subs: Matthews, Woodward