Alex Pike was left frustrated after Gosport Borough came crashing back down to earth last night.
Just 48 hours after an historic win over the Hawks saw them net a place in the FA Trophy final at Wembley, the Skrill South strugglers were beaten 2-1 by Eastbourne Borough in the league at Privett Park.
Darren Lok struck either side of the break for the visitors, before Gosport skipper Jamie Brown was sent off.
A Dan Wooden strike and a red card for Eastbourne’s Jack Deaman briefly raised hope of a comeback – but it was not to be.
The defeat left Borough deep in relegation trouble – bottom of the table and five points adrift of closest-rivals Dorchester.
And Pike bemoaned the missed opportunity to make up ground on his side’s fellow relegation battlers.
‘It was a disappointing result and a disappointing performance,’ said the Borough boss.
‘We didn’t start to play until going two goals behind.
‘Both their goals were a comedy of errors on our part.
‘What’s most upsetting is we can beat a good side like the Hawks but 48 hours later lose to a side who will finish well below them in the table.
‘We didn’t get our mindset right and here we are losing a game we would have won if we had adapted ourselves like we did at the weekend.’
It was a case of back to reality for Borough even before the kick-off at Privett Park.
The terraces were almost empty in comparison to the packed house for the Trophy clash with the Hawks at the weekend.
And how the hosts needed a repeat of that vocal support as they went in search of a crucial victory in the fight for Skrill South survival.
Instead, they had Nathan Ashmore to thank for keeping the scores level in the early skirmishes.
The keeper foiled Chris Shephard’s fierce near-post effort and later denied Lok.
At the other end, Borough’s biggest threat came from Mike Gosney.
First he teed up Tim Sills, whose shot was deflected wide by the arm of former Hawks defender Ian Simpemba.
Referee Robert Ellis waved away the home side’s appeals, before Gosney’s pace saw him tear through the Eastbourne defence again.
But this time he failed to trouble keeper Craig Ross.
Lok then showed Gosney how to do it as he fired the visitors into the lead from close range before half-time.
There was still time for Wooden to go close as Borough began to up the pressure, but his header drifted wide.
The hosts were left to rue that miss when Eastbourne extended their lead early in the second half.
A fine move ripped Borough open and Tom Derry crossed for Lok to side-foot home from six yards.
Pike threw on Rory Williams and Andy Forbes to add more support to his forward line. But before they could make inroads, skipper Brown was shown his second yellow card for a high tackle on Shephard.
Wooden gave Borough some hope of a fightback when he beat his marker and fired home on 78 minutes.
These hopes were buoyed by a red card for Eastbourne’s Deaman for a heavy challenge on Steve Ramsey.
But despite pushing forward on the hunt for a leveller, the closest the home side came was a Williams effort that Ross clutched under his crossbar.
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Molyneaux, Poate, Brown, Richardson, Pearce, Woodward, Ramsey, Sills, Gosney, Wooden. Subs: Wilde, Williams, Forbes, Carmichael, Barfoot
Eastbourne Borough: Ross, Deaman, Cole, Aldred, Simpemba, Watts, Rowe, Raymond, Derry, Lok, Shephard. Subs: Hammond, Levy, Tallack, Worrall, Long
Ref: Robert Ellis (Coventry)