Wick Football Club fell four points adrift of Southern Combination League Premier Division safety on Saturday.
Efforts in each half from Joshua Marshall and Connor Wilkins sent Wick to a 2-1 defeat in a relegation battle at Peacehaven & Telscombe.
Following the loss, Lee Baldwin’s side slipped to second-bottom in the standings.
Rivals Arundel sealed a second successive league win, helping them move above Wick, while both Worthing United and Peacehaven in the bottom seven also bagged victories.
With just ten games to go, Wick trail two-places above AFC Uckfield Town and safety by four points.
Having never been involved in a relegation scrap either as a player or manager, Wick boss Baldwin knows a lot of hard-work is needed.
He said: “Everything seems to be going wrong for us at the minute. Dan Simmonds couldn’t start after falling ill in advance, then Joe Gromett pulls his hamstring after 40 minutes.
“We did well to get back in the game after facing an onslaught in the first-half. It was one I said we didn’t want to lose but we did.
“It’s do-or-die for us now, it’s going to be a massive push in these final ten matches.
“We need to keep working hard and trying to produce results in the remaining matches.”
Wick were off to a shocking start as Marshall fired Peacehaven ahead inside five minutes.
Andy Chick then spurned a great opportunity on the half-hour as Wick went into the interval a goal down.
Baldwin’s side were then handed a lifeline when Rob Madden was hauled down in the area and a penalty was awarded. Substitute Dan Simmonds crashed home the spot-kick to level on the hour.
Wick had the momentum and looked like the only team to go on and win the game.
However Wilkins had other ideas, getting the winner 25 minutes from time. He was left in acres of space before firing home his side’s second. A bad day for Wick was then rounded off with full-back Jack Bingham sent-off after being shown a second yellow card ten minutes from time.
Wick brought in forward Josh Irish from rivals Pagham following Saturday’s defeat at Peacehaven.
WICK: Maskell; Airton, Madden, Playle-Howard, Bingham; Noble, Ediker, R.Brown; Chick, Gromett, Hutchings. Subs: Simmonds (Gromett, 40), Brazil (Ediker, 72), Hallett, Eyres, Cox.
Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.
4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!
The Littlehampton Gazette - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.