Mick Catlin has warned that Gosport Borough must strike the right balance for next season as they bid to continue their progression.
Mike Carter’s stoppage-time winner ensured Borough ground out a 1-0 win at Bishop’s Stortford in a game the assistant boss described as ‘awful’.
We’re a bit deflated but we’ve got to be pleased with the progress we’ve madeMick Catlin
But Whitehawk’s 3-1 win over Hemel Hempstead finally killed off Borough’s outside play-off hopes.
The Privett Park outfit host newly-crowned champions Bromley on the final day of the Vanarama Conference South season next weekend and will be looking to seal the league double over the title-winners after a 3-0 away success back in September.
But the bigger picture for Catlin is about continuing the club’s improvement next season.
After last term’s lengthy battle against relegation eventually ended in a respectable mid-table finish, Borough can claim sixth place this time around as their upward curve continues.
But Catlin knows any recruitment plans must factor in the crucial togetherness that has been a major reason behind the club’s surge through the divisions.
He said: ‘You do feel a bit down to miss out on the play-offs because we were in a good position and couldn’t kick on to get a place.
‘We just couldn’t find the form when we needed it.
‘We’ve looked back over the season and at some of the points we dropped at Staines and losing twice to St Albans. Those were the key games.
‘But every team that misses out will do that over a season.
‘We knew if Whitehawk won, it was all over but we half-expected them to get the job done.
‘We’re a bit deflated but we’ve got to be pleased with the progress we’ve made.
‘We were 12th last season so if we can finish sixth and we can win the Hampshire Senior Cup, it will be an excellent season.
‘That would give us some belief to push on next season.
‘We’re looking to add to the squad and we’re hoping those players can take us up to the next level.
‘The sides in the play-offs have a bit more depth in the squad and maybe that was the difference.
‘You’ve got to invest in the squad but the team spirit is key to us as well.
‘Having players sat in the stands every week can present its own problems and erode some of that spirit.
‘So you’ve got to find the right balance.’
Nathan Ashmore made two good saves either side of the interval in a game that had the end-of-season feel about it.
Matt Paterson and Carter both had opportunities.
But the former Sholing man was on hand to have the final say two minutes into stoppage time as he netted a rebound from close range.
Catlin said: ‘It was an awful game to be perfectly honest.
‘The pitch was bumpy and it was just about hooking it on in midfield.
‘We didn’t create a great deal until the last minute of the game.
‘It was a smash and grab. Neither side really did enough to win it but we were pleased to come away with three points.’
BOROUGH: Ashmore, Robinson, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Carter, Smith, Dunford (Wooden, 85), Wort (Forbes, 68), Paterson, Bennett. Subs not used: Wilde, Saez, Ramsey