Troubles continue to mount for Gosport Borough who were dumped out of the National League South play-off places by a damaging 3-0 defeat at Whitehawk.
Off-the-field problems have derailed the Privett Park outfit’s ambitions and left them with limited resources.
The fifth successive league defeat for Alex Pike’s men left booking a play-off place looking increasingly unlikely.
Their cause has not been helped by the National League’s refusal to lift a registration embargo before last Thursday’s transfer deadline.
That means Borough will have to complete the season with just 13 senior players on their books.
Assistant manager Mick Catlin has admitted they are struggling – ahead of today’s Hampshire derby with Basingstoke Town at Privett Park (3pm).
‘It is certainly not getting any easier for us,’ he said
‘We have got at least three or four players out there carrying knocks.
‘Playing twice in three days gives them little time for recovery and it is a big ask of them.
‘If they don’t make it then we will be forced to throw in young lads.
‘The youngsters have got ability but are only just getting used to playing men’s football.
‘Our league is a harsh environment for players like that but we do not have many options.
‘We have to soldier on and try to make the best of it.’
The lack of resources showed at Whitehawk where the home side had the luxury of bringing on Jake Robinson as a substitute in the second half.
Robinson set up one goal and scored another as Borough ended well beaten.
The visitors had a lucky escape on 23 minutes after defender Brett Poate brought down home captain Sergio Torres inside the area.
David Martin could only fire his spot-kick against the post.
Nine minutes later there was no reprieve for Borough when Danny Mills chipped the ball over the stranded George Legg in the Borough goal.
After the break the home side dominated and on 67 minutes Robinson found Alex Osborne in the area and the latter made no mistake.
Seven minutes before the end, Robinson curled home a third goal to confirm another Borough defeat.
‘Once Whitehawk went in front we looked very shaky,’ said Catlin.
‘We battled away but we are running on empty at the moment. It is soul destroying when you consider the squad we set out with.
‘Losing six key players in the last two months has ripped the heart of the team out.’
While Basingstoke are bottom of the table, they will test Borough’s limited resources to the full.
The Dragons gave new boss Terry Brown the perfect start at the weekend with a 2-0 home win over Oxford City.
Gosport Borough: Legg, Cuthbertson, Poate, Carter, Woodford, Pearce, Ryan, Williams, Wooden, Bennett, Wilde , Brice, Jerrard, Duffin, Hoare, May