Alex Pike admitted he had to read the riot act to his Gosport Borough players as they came from behind to grind out a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Farnborough.
Gosport were far from their fluent best in the opening half an hour of the contest against a club second from bottom in Vanarama Conference South.
And they fell behind when Andy Robinson was caught in possession to allow Joe Bennett to race through and fire the strugglers ahead.
But that goal seemed to finally spark Borough into life as Dan Wooden continued his hot streak with a cultured sidefoot volley into the top corner with his weaker right foot, having latched on to Andy Forbes’ flick-on following Matt Paterson’s knock-down.
The equaliser didn’t save Borough’s players from the Pike hairdryer treatment at half-time, though, as the manager’s voice could be heard booming through the stand from the home dressing room.
It clearly worked, though, as Justin Bennett cracked home the winner three minutes into the second half with a classy volley on the turn from Tom Dunford’s right-wing cross.
And Borough never looked like surrendering the advantage as they claimed another vital three points in the hunt for a play-off place.
Pike said: ‘I had a go at them at half-time. I felt the urgency and intensity never appeared until we went 1-0 down and that’s not acceptable.
‘I think a few things needed saying and some people need a kick up the backside sometimes.
‘You have to be careful how you do it and you can’t do it all the time because it doesn’t have the impact but it had the desired effect this time.
‘It would have been worse if we hadn’t got the equaliser. It was a great finish from Woody and it was his right foot – I didn’t know he even had one!
‘But I knew we were capable of coming out and winning the game in the second half.
‘Once we got the early goal, I don’t think we looked back.’
Whether Borough’s ponderous start to the game was down to fatigue from their midweek efforts in the 3-2 win at Hayes & Yeading on a heavy pitch, or a touch of complacency, is open to debate.
But they were certainly several notches down on their usual levels until they fell behind.
Once they got ahead, though, they should have made it more comfortable with Bennett unable to take either of two tough chances that came his way.
Borough might have had the extra benefit of seeing Farnborough go down to 10 men, if Jamie Hand had been sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Paterson.
Pike said: ‘I was looking directly at it. It was not a trip – the lad deliberately kicked him and brought him down.
‘Understandably, the referee didn’t see it but the linesman couldn’t have seen it either.
‘It was never a yellow card – it was either a red or nothing. It proved to me they didn’t see it and they guessed.’
Pike, who also confirmed the signing of former Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Blackmore before the game, added: ‘We weren’t at our best but I don’t care how pretty it looks as long as we get the three points.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Forbes, Robinson, Pearce, Williams, Carter (Ramsey, 77min), Dunford (Allen, 82min), Smith, Wooden, Bennett, Paterson. Unused subs: Wort, Wilde, Saez