Ten man Boro' hover on the edge of drop zone
Dan Thomas was sent off as Gosport crashed 2-0 to Eastbourne Borough despite another encouraging display at Priory Lane.
If ever a single game would define Gosport's season, Tuesday evening's critical relegation six pointer at Truro City could be it.
The two teams, separated by just two points, will go head to head in Cornwall with both in deep relegation trouble. The pressure will now undoubtedly be on Alex Pike and his Gosport players after this afternoon's disappointing reverse in East Sussex. Put simply, it is a game Gosport must win.
Once again, Boro' produced an encouraging display and their hopes and chances of gaining a vital result soared after a solid first half display saw them hold their mid-table hosts 0-0 at the break.
They had even hit the woodwork twice as they looked comfortable on Eastbourne's 3G surface. However the second half saw all the hard work go to waste as the deadly Elliott Romain pounced on the single defensive mistake Boro' made to open the scoring six minutes into the second half.
Even then, Gosport were still very much in with a shout of getting a result. That was until goalkeeper Dan Thomas (pictured) was confronted with the prospect of the home side's top scorer Nathaniel Pinney bearing down on him. Thomas charged out and took out the striker with a wild challenge which earned him an immediate red card and resulted in a penalty which Pinney converted to make it game, set and match.
Handily for Gosport, results elsewhere kept them out of the relegation zone by a single point but time and matches are both running out.
This afternoon's game was bathed in brilliant spring sunshine and there wasn't a breath of wind making the playing conditions perfect. Aaron Dawson returned from suspension and there was a debut for central defender Charlie Wassmer after his switch from Maidenhead United.
Ben Harding missed out with illness and goalkeepers Mark Childs and Nick Jordan were injured although Jordan was included as a substitute and would later be thrown into action as a result of Thomas' dismissal.
The first half was a very even affair and Gosport rattled the Eastbourne woodwork twice courtesy of Tony Lee and Tom Bird's free kick, whilst at the other end, Pinney's powerful effort was met with a decent save from Thomas.
But things went wrong almost immediately in the second half. The lively Josh Street's pass unlocked the Boro' defence allowing Elliott Romain the time and space needed to shrug off the attentions of Oastler and he slotted past Thomas and in.
Gosport, even at 1-0 down had enough about them to threaten an equaliser but the game was decided with ten minutes remaining. Pinney bore down on goal and Dan Thomas raced out to meet him. However, the Gosport keeper misjudged his challenge horribly, poleaxing the striker, conceding the penalty.
He was also immediately dismissed and headed straight for the tunnel which happened to be behind the goal he was defending. Nick Jordan was brought on at the expense of the unlucky Joe Lea who was the outfield player sacrificed to allow Jordan to replace Thomas between the sticks.
From this point on, Eastbourne were always in command and secured the win. Boro' now head to Truro needing to earn their first League win since Hemel Hempstead in late October as the fight for survival continues.