Alex Pike has called for a response from Gosport Borough after an ‘unacceptable’ defeat to Arlesey on Saturday.
The Privett Park boss watched as his side wasted a raft of good chances before getting hit by a sucker-punch to lose 1-0 in front of their own fans.
A tame effort from the boot of party-pooper Chris Dillon was deflected home to end Borough’s magnificent 23-game unbeaten league run.
Pike was far from happy about the manner of the defeat, though, and has challenged his players to put it right when they host AFC Totton this afternoon (3pm).
‘I can’t remember any of our strikers testing their goalkeeper in the entire match,’ said the Gosport manager.
‘And with so many chances not being taken, we end up getting beaten.
‘From my point of view, to lose our unbeaten run in such a fashion – against a side we should have taken three points from – is unacceptable.
‘Fortunately for us, the teams around us did not do that well and it has left us still in one of the play-off spots.
‘It doesn’t take much working out that we need to get back to where we were before the match against Arlesey, though. And I will be looking to the lads for a response at AFC Totton.’
First and foremost, Pike will want his side to rediscover the cutting edge that has propelled them into the promotion frame.
They could have scored four or five against Arlesey, relegating Dillon’s strike – which somehow found its way past keeper Nathan Ashmore and a couple defenders on the line – to nothing more than a consolation.
The visitors only had one other attempt – which was blazed over the top by Leon Hibbert.
At the other end, though, there were chances galore.
Tom Dunford, Rory Williams and Dan Wooden set an early trend of wastefulness that was followed throughout the remainder of the game.
Skipper Brett Poate and Sammy Igoe both failed with efforts of their own, while Wooden also had big appeals for a penalty turned down.
Soon after the spot-kick denial, Williams turned his marker and fired home – only for the referee to rule it out for an earlier infringement as the majority of the 460 fans voiced their disapproval.
Justin Bennett came off the bench in a bid to find the breakthrough but, much like his team-mates, had little impact before Dillon popped up to complete Arlesey’s smash-and-grab raid.
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, King, Poate, Cook, Woodford, Dunford, Igoe, Smith, Wooden, Williams, Woodward. Substitutes: Bennett, Martin, Wilson, Ender