Gosport Borough’s battle to remain in Skrill South continues after they were beaten 2-0 by Ebbsfleet United at Privett Park last night.
Goals in either half from Billy Bricknell and Daryl McMahon denied Alex Pike’s side the chance to move four points clear of the drop zone.
But the Borough manager, whose side stay in 19th position, was philosophical in defeat and has called on his side to rest and regroup ahead of tomorrow’s Privett Park clash with Bishop’s Stortford (3pm).
Pike said: ‘We came up short against a very good side who deserved what they got.
‘In fact, once Adam Wilde’s free-kick hit the bar instead of the back of the net, we found it difficult to get back in the match.
‘They are a difficult side to beat anyway, so I’m not that disappointed.
‘But we are still very much in the hunt to climb the table.
‘What we must do now is get some rest and come back tomorrow and see if we can beat Bishop’s Stortford here and move on from there.’
Pike made seven changes to the side who won 2-0 at Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday.
And the hosts started the game on the front foot, with Wilde and Justin Bennett creating an opening for Mike Gosney, who was bravely denied by Fleet keeper Preston Edwards.
The north Kent visitors rallied, but four corners later had nothing to show for their efforts, with Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore dealing with everything that bent into his six-yard box.
As play broke in Borough’s favour again, Gosney went close to breaking the deadlock, only for Edwards to dive away to his left and turn his goalbound effort behind.
Anthony Cook then fizzed a free-kick against the crossbar as the visitors signalled their intent in an end-to-end game.
And on 31 minutes Ashmore was beaten when Edwards’ huge clearance was taken on by Bricknell, who delivered a stunning low shot into the corner of the net.
Just before the interval, Borough were twice let off the hook, when Ben May crashed a shot against the crossbar from point-blank range, before Bricknell fired wide.
Borough came out fired up for the second half and went desperately close to an equaliser when Wilde powered a free-kick against the crossbar.
Flurry of activity over, Ebbsfleet took the match by the scruff of the neck and dampened Borough’s hopes by doubling their advantage.
The hosts failed to clear a clear a Dean Rance shot and as the ball broke to midfielder McMahon, his left boot did the rest, with a shot that raced into the roof of the net.
Manager Pike then brought Dan Wooden off the bench to form a strike partnership with Bennett.
And the substitute settled in quickly, rising high to power a header wide from a corner.
But that was as good as it got for Borough, who never looked likely or capable of getting back in a match that Ebbsfleet continued to dominate until the final whistle.
GOSPORT: Ashmore, Woodward, Pearce, Kerrigan, Brown, Richardson, Carmichael, Scott, Gosney, Bennett, Wilde
Subs: Sills, Wooden, Dunford, Smith, Barfoot