Royals boss Catlin: Our inexperience cost us in Portland defeat
Mick Catlin admits AFC Portchester have hit a brick wall after suffering a fourth successive defeat with a 2-1 reverse at fellow Wessex Premier high-flyers Portland United.
Despite their recent poor run, the Royals are still fifth in the league with a game in hand on the top three - but they trail leaders Alresford by 11 points with a game in hand.
Manager Mick Catlin felt his team should have returned from Dorset with something from the game against the 2016-17 Wessex champions.
'We did enough to earn a point and it was disappointing to come away empty handed,' he said.
'After getting back to 1-1 we should have shut up shop.
'Instead they regained the lead soon afterwards and that knocked the stuffing out of us.
'We were missing some key players and had quite a young side out.
'Our inexperience cost us.
'I can't fault the performances but results have stopped going our way.
'Fortunately a few of our defeats have been in cup games so haven't affected our league position too much.
'It is important, though, that we get back to winning ways in the league.'
The visitors were handicapped by the absence of Nathan Paxton and Dan Wooden through injury.
In an even first half, the Royals defended well against the wind and went in at the break only one goal behind.
Owen Fee equalised around the hour mark when he cut into the penalty area and slid a left-foot shot under the goalkeeper.
'I thought that we would go on and get a point at that stage but got caught with a sucker punch as we were pushing up,' said Catlin.
The visitors’ misery was compounded by their loss of Adam Cripps, in the first half and Fee late on to injuries.
'Injuries are starting to rack up and neither of these ones looks good,' said Catlin.
Portchester’s next league game is at rock bottom Amesbury next Saturday, followed by the second El Creekio Wessex derby of 2019/20 at Fareham.