Time is running out for Barnstaple Town to avoid relegation from Evo-Stik Divison One South after a 5-0 defeat at AFC Totton on Saturday.
The trip to Hampshire was another one to forget for Aaron Harper-Penman’s side, who have been outscored 16-1 in their last three away from home.
Totton took an early lead when Stuart Green got on the end of a ball from the byline to finish from 12 yards.
Barnstaple held firm for the rest of the first half, partly thanks to a penalty save from Steve Oliver, but Totton were able to double their advantage almost straight away after the break through a Craig Feeney finish.
Ollie Bradley made it 3-0 three minutes later after cutting in from the left and firing in.
Justin Bennett added a fourth with 15 minutes remaining before curling in a free kick a few minutes later.
Manager Aaron Harper-Penman said the early goal in the second half changed the game.
“We went in 1-0 down and the boys had put a shift in,” he said.
“Obviously the team talk was to make sure we are tight and ease ourselves back into the second half, and you never know what can happen with the score at 1-0. But then within 90 seconds you’re 2-0 down and the whole concept of the game changes.
“We crumbled a bit in the second half. Obviously we don’t set up to lose but when you’re fighting against these teams it’s always going to be tough.
“The first half was encouraging but we conceded a few sloppy goals and they were clinical.”
Barum, second from bottom, have six games to claw back a six-point gap between themselves and Mangotsfield United in 18th.
Those six games start with the visit of league leaders Yate Town to Mill Road this Saturday.
Barnstaple have already shown the title-chasers what they can do, beating them 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in November.
“We could be a banana skin for them, but they’ll also have that result in their minds and they will want revenge, it can work both ways,” said Harper-Penman.
“It’s got the recipe for a good game though, we’ve got to go out and give it our all.
“We’ve got to be realistic but we’ll scrap and fight for every point we can get. We’ve just got to fight for everything we’ve got really.”