Defeat adds insult to injury for Borough boss
Gosport Borough failed to provide manager Alex Pike with the tonic he needed as they crashed to a 5-0 loss at Royston Town in the Southern League premier division.
Pike has been suffering with a virus but there was no pick-me-up to be had at Garden Walk.
The odds were stacked against rock-bottom Borough from the start – with Royston boasting eight successive home victories.
By half-time the Crows were well on their way to making it nine after rattling in three goals without reply.
With Borough improved in the second half, there was never any danger of the home side feeling threatened.
Two further goals, including a stoppage-time penalty, saw Royston coast to an easy win.
It is a fifth successive defeat for Pike since he returned as boss – with his side yet to score a goal.
However, he believes the next week will be a key time at the club.
Pike said: ‘Yes I’m hurt and yes there is a massive job to be done.
‘The next week will be very important for us as I start to get some of the players in I want.
‘Once we get them in to bolster the squad we can start working on our patterns of play. I want to emphasise that these players are coming in to strengthen the squad.
‘We need to have a squad of 22 players at the club with competition for places.
‘I believe the new players, alongside the ones already here, can help drag us up by our bootstraps.’
Pike believes his current Borough squad does not have the experience to do the job unaided.
It was their naivity that saw them crumble in the first half.
Forced to play with a patched-up central defence, it proved too much against their in-form hosts.
‘I want the players to express themselves but we cannot afford to give the ball away cheaply in poor positions,’ added Pike.
‘It would have been easy for our heads to go down in the second half.
‘Instead we showed a big improvement and for long spells were the better team.
‘Then we gifted them their fourth goal and played the ball across our own 18-yard line to concede a penalty in stoppage-time.
‘These are the things we need to iron out.’
Pike, however, was given a fillip by the performance of young striker Joel Jackson on his debut.
The 18-year-old, signed from Baffins Milton Rovers, made a favourable impression.
‘We started him on the wing and then moved him up top,’ said Pike.
‘It isn’t easy for him coming into a struggling side but he did really well.
‘He got in behind them and caused them a few problems.’
Gosport Borough: Price, Breed, Watt, Lis, Wakley, Medway, Jackson, Smith, Mason, Davis, Suraci. Subs: Walters, Watch, Paige, Stone, Whiteley. Att: 270