Gosport Borough pay the price for ‘funny five minutes’ in Southern League loss to fellow play-off hopefuls Taunton
Gosport Borough's poor start to the new year continued with a 3-2 defeat at play-off rivals Taunton Town.
A second successive defeat – on the back of a home loss to lowly Hartley Wintney - dealt another big blow to Borough's Southern League Premier South play-off ambitions.
Lee Molyneaux's side slipped to seventh, five points behind fifth-placed Taunton.
Crucially, though, Borough have played three games more than most of the teams above them.
'We are making it difficult for ourselves and we need to get on a winning run,' said Molyneaux, whose side at least ended a run of three games without a goal.
'Performance wise, I thought we played well against one of the best teams in the league.
'On the day we were the better team.
'Both the first half penalties, theirs and ours, were soft awards.
'I thought we were denied two more blatant penalties in the first half.
'We had a funny five minutes late in the game and conceded twice which is unlike us.'
Borough made the worst possible start, conceding a penalty after just six minutes.
Dan Strugnell was adjudged to have pushed a home forward to give away the spot-kick.
Though goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski kept out Andrew Neal's effort, Ryan Brett fired in the rebound.
Five minutes later the visitors were level after they were awarded a penalty.
Chris Flood was fouled and Rory Williams made no mistake from the spot.
Within another three minutes, Borough led when a George Barker shot from the edge of the area was parried by the keeper and Flood reacted quickest to the loose ball.
Taunton levelled in the 73rd minute through Dan Sullivan and grabbed the lead two minutes later with an Oliver Chamberlain shot that Dudzinski couldn't hold.
It was only the second time in 24 league games that Gosport had conceded more than two goals in a match - the 4-4 home draw with Dorchester was the first occasion.
'The result wasn't what we wanted but we are not too downbeat about it,' said Molyneaux, whose side have only banked two points out of the last available 12.
'If we had won without playing well it would have just papered over the cracks.
'We are certainly not giving up on our play-off ambitions and remain confident that we can make it.
'It was nice to actually score some goals.
'There were enough positives to take from the game to suggest we are in better shape heading into the back end of the season.’