Chichester City’s barren run continued on Saturday when they were defeated 2-1 at Oaklands Park by promotion hopefuls Hassocks.
First-half goals from Jamie Weston and Dan Smith gave the away side a comfortable lead.
City captain Joe Briggs reduced the deficit on 47 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Adie Girdler’s side slipping to an 11th successive defeat.
City assistant manager Dave Kelly said his side were not in a relegation scrap and shrugged off talk of a confidence crisis.
Chichester squandered an early chance for Callum Cutler. Briggs skipped past the full-back before crossing for Cutler, whose effort shaved the bar.
Chichester’s confidence turned to complacency when Shaun Benjamin casually passed the ball across his back-line.
Weston bore down on stand-in keeper Paul Stevens before finishing.
Hassocks began to put City under immense pressure. Benjamin was forced off after clashing with Kieran Cawagshaw and suffering a facial injury, and the away side made their temporary one-man advantage count when Smith doubled their lead.
Andy Whittingham had had evaded three defenders before crossing for Smith, who fired home.
City started the second half on the front foot. A quick free-kick from Cutler saw Mike Turvey turn past his marker and set up Briggs. City should have levelled from the spot after Jamie Ford was hauled to the ground. Adrian Brockway was denied by keeper Jack Simpson.
Brockway almost made amends but Simpson denied City a late equaliser.
Brockway lost his cool and swung his arm at Smith and was sent off.
Kelly was disappointed with result, and thought his men deserved more.
“It was disappointing to concede in the way we did, but we did well to get ourselves back into it. It’s another game where we’ve played well but come away empty-handed,” he said.
Kelly said of Brockway: “It was completely thoughtless and immature.”
CITY: Stevens, Benjamin, Cotton, Archer, Ford, Broadbent, Briggs, Cutler, Turvey, Daran, Brockway. Subs: Davis, Harruna, Wallis, Richardson.