ALEX PIKE is not giving up on Gosport Borough’s promotion ambition.
The Privett Park manager is adamant his side have the quality to make the play-offs in the Southern League premier division.
But he felt the team lacked drive and enthusiasm in their 1-0 defeat at Hitchin Town on Saturday.
And he knows they must get back to winning ways against Bedford tomorrow at Privett Park.
‘We shot ourselves in the foot and it has left us with a difficult run-in to reach the play-offs,’ said Pike.
‘It’s not that we were beaten by a better team.
‘Had the lads performed as they can then the result would have been very different, I feel sure of that.
‘But what is hard to understand is the fact that there was no real drive or ambition out there, on a pitch surface that somehow didn’t suit us.
‘I say that knowing that earlier in the season we had a poor run of five or six matches on similar surfaces.
‘Then came the rain and we got stuck in and went on a superb run on tough playing surfaces to reach the play-offs.
‘Yes, we’ve got it all to do and tomorrow night here at Privett against Bedford is the best place to start.’
Borough had many chances in the first half but were wasteful in their finishing.
The Canaries, who were there for the taking, should have been put out of the game.
Gosport midfielder Sammy Igoe led by his usual high standards.
But everyone else, the hosts included, appeared to treat the 90 minutes as nothing more than an end-of-season fixture with nothing riding on the eventual result.
It wasn’t until late on that the contest came alive when Hitchin finally sensed there was more than just a point on offer.
Striker John Frendo met Mike Noone’s corner to beat Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore with a blistering volley.
Then, and only then, did Borough begin to sparkle.
Perhaps it was due to the desire and drive shown by substitute Jamie Brown.
The midfielder made such an impression in his cameo appearance from the bench that everyone watching was left wondering why he wasn’t in the starting XI.
But Borough were very much second best on the day.
They now have a lot to do if they are to finish with a place in the play-offs.
Borough chairman Mark Hook echoed Pike’s sentiments at the final whistle.
But he too hasn’t lost faith in a side who, since seeing their sensational unbeaten run ended, have now lost three on the bounce.
Hook said: ‘We never got out of the starting blocks and once Hitchin had opened us up and scored, I couldn’t see the lads recovering.
‘But the season has some way to go and we live in hope that the lads will respond positively to the situation.’
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, King, Martin, Cook, Woodford, Dunford, Igoe, Smith, Wooden, Williams, Woodward. Subs: Brown, Wilson, Ender, Molyneaux, Wilde