Havant suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat to title-cashing University of Exeter on Saturday.
Andy Pett’s second-half strike was little more than a consolation for the hosts on a day when they were made to pay for a sluggish first period.
The Barncroft Way outfit were three goals down before they found their feet and asked questions of the students’ defence.
They threatened once in the early skirmishes – when their first aerial ball was misjudged by the visitors.
Pol Soms Irazola picked up the loose ball and crossed, only for a defender to nick the ball away from a Havant stick in the D.
Exeter then made the most of that let-off as they punished the home side for giving the ball away under pressure.
The promotion hopefuls earned their first short corner on 10 minutes – and took the lead as a low push was deflected home.
The Devon side then doubled their lead 10 minutes later.
A poor aerial ball from Satchi Reddy was picked up in midfield and transferred quickly into the Havant D – where it was deflected past the despairing dive of keeper Andy Isaacs.
There was no respite for Havant as they struggled to contain Exeter.
On 29 minutes, a fine run along the right byline resulted in a third goal for the visitors.
And it was nearly four on 34 minutes from a similar move but the final ball was wasted.
In the second half, Havant again started well.
A good run by Pett led to a deflection being superbly turned away by the Exeter keeper.
And they came again when Maciej Janiszewski was close to reaching a fine ball into the D.
In the 41st minute, Havant won their first short corner.
The ball became lodged under the keeper, which led to an immediate second and this time the effort was cleared for a long corner. There was no doubt the home side had the upper hand, though.
They were pressing well, with Exeter seemingly content to sit on their lead – with captain Chris Barker marshalling their defence.
But Isaacs still had to be on his toes – and made a good double save from one incisive break.
It was the home side who found the net next, though, as Pett drove in from the left and shot home off the keeper’s pads in the 53rd minute. Reddy then flashed a short corner just wide, before England starlet Ollie Nail was denied.
Havant’s efforts to find a way back into the game were then cruelly denied when Exeter netted a fourth goal on the counter with a minute to go.
But they remain in sixth spot and – barring a miraculous run of results – are safe from the relegation play-offs.
Fareham, though, are still in danger after losing 2-0 to fellow strugglers Cheltenham.