Brett Poate insists Gosport Borough’s promotion hopes are not finished after a second consecutive defeat put a major dent in their aspirations.
Borough fell to a 1-0 home loss to Chelmsford City – their second straight defeat – a result which saw them slip out of the play-off places.
All the other teams have got to play each other so if we can win two or three on the bounce, we will be right back in the mix again.Brett Poate
They have an immediate chance to return to the top five tonight when they travel to Wealdstone (7.45pm), but will need to rediscover their clinical edge in front of goal after seeing several presentable chances go begging in a second half they dominated.
After going behind inside 10 minutes when Mason Spence bundled home from close range, Borough struggled to get going in the first 45 minutes.
But they were much improved again after the break, with the normally-reliable Justin Bennett wasting a gilt-edged chance, while substitute Lee Wort fired over from close range in the closing minutes.
Poate also thought he had nodded home an equaliser, only to see the goal disallowed for offside but he felt it should have stood.
He said: ‘Sometimes you get a feel for whether you are offside or not and I wasn’t stood in there – I ran on to it.
‘Until you see a video, you don’t know but I felt I was onside. The flag went up and the referee gave it so there’s not much you can do about it.
‘There will be twists and turns until the end of the season and we have lost the two games 1-0.
‘But we will keep working hard and we will keep fighting for each other.
‘All the other teams have got to play each other so if we can win two or three on the bounce, we will be right back in the mix again.
‘We need to bounce back straight away at Wealdstone and we can’t afford to lose that one.’
Chelmsford were a threat on the break for most of the first half as Borough struggled to carve out clear opportunities on a bobbly Privett Park surface.
After Spence had put the visitors ahead, Bennett might have levelled in first-half stoppage time, as he fired narrowly over from an angle.
But Borough looked the more likely to score after Chelmsford spurned two excellent chances after the restart.
Bennett had the best opportunity as he raced clear one-on-one, only to see goalkeeper Tom Lovelock stick out a leg to make the save.
The top goalscorer was again denied when he got a touch to Dan Wooden’s inviting cross.
On the balance of play, Borough probably deserved at least a point but boss Alex Pike admitted there is little room for hard luck tales at this stage of the season.
Pike said: ‘Unfortunately, at this time of the season, being unlucky counts for nothing.
‘You’ve got to win games and it doesn’t matter how you do it.
‘It followed the same pattern as last week at Eastbourne.
‘We conceded a soft goal and then threw the kitchen sink at them in the second half and couldn’t score.
‘We created four or five chances to score a goal and we didn’t do it so we’ve only got ourselves to blame.
‘But we can’t affect that now. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and go again.
‘It’s been a dramatic dent in our hopes over the past two games.
‘I am never one for throwing in the towel and neither are the players.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Saez (Forbes, 82), Pearce, Poate, Williams, Carter, Dunford (Wilde, 64), Robinson, Wooden, Paterson (Wort, 71), Bennett. Subs not used: Smith, Ramsey