Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming believes his side have got to get back to basics after seeing his side slump to defeat at home to lowly Hastings.

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Lowestoft Town 1 Hastings 3

Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming believes his side have got to get back to basics after seeing his side slump to defeat at home to lowly Hastings.

With Hornchurch losing against Harrow Borough, Lowestoft had the chance to move into pole position for the runners-up spot in the division and the guaranteed home advantage in the play-offs that entails.

However, Hastings deservedly took all three points after a poor defensive display from the Trawlerboys and Fleming admitted his side must improve if they are to be successful in the play-offs.

“We just keep on shooting ourselves in the foot – we didn’t start great but we then conceded such a sloppy goal,” said Fleming, after Billericay got the point they needed at Margate to secure the title. “On the edge of our box I’ve told them time and time again to just clear it. We don’t at the moment, we’re trying little intricate passes and we’ve paid the price again.

“I’ve said it to them for the last five, six or seven months that we’ve got to get back to basics. We’ve lost too many games this season where in my opinion the opposition haven’t beaten us. We’ve beaten ourselves again today and we’ve got to get out of that habit.”

The defeat was compounded by the news Andy Reynolds will miss the rest of the season after damaging ankle ligaments. The xx-year-old landed awkwardly after punching a Hastings cross clear and with no goalkeeper on the substitutes’ bench Michael Frew was forced into emergency action.

The visitors seized the initiative though as Josh Jirbandey headed home after being left completely unmarked from a corner and Bradley Goldberg profited from a misplaced pass from Dean Sinclair to rifle home from the edge of the area.

Chris Henderson’s smart finish early in the second half looked to have thrown Lowestoft a lifeline but once again Hastings carved the home defence open for Bailo Camara to score past Matt Halliday, who had been handed the keeper’s gloves to allow Frew to go up front.

Fleming wants to see his side get back to the kind of no-nonsense defending that characterised their promotion from Ryman League Division North two years ago.

“If you make mistakes in and around your box then you concede goals. If you concede goals then you don’t win games that often. That’s what sets us apart now from what we did in the Ryman North.

“I think in the Ryman North we had a mentality about us that if the ball is bouncing around your box then you just clear it.

“I’ve told them that that’s what the best players in the world do. If there’s a risk then just get it away from your goal. We don’t do it at the moment but we will.

“We just seem to keep shooting ourselves in the foot and we’ve got to stop doing it because we’re getting to a stage now where if we do it then we won’t get to where we want to be.”

- Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Reynolds (Frew 11), Forbes (Francis 68), Mitchell, Gaughran, Smith, Guentchev, Sinclair, Fisk, Eagle, Henderson, Stone (Halliday 46). Subs not used: Forshaw, Ainsley.

- Hastings (4-4-2): Armstrong-Ford, Dixon, Ray, Jirbandey, Whitehead, Camara, Carey, Crellin, Ellis (Gonsalves 89), Attwood, Goldberg (Manning 72). Subs not used: Manning, Sutton.

- Referee: Shon Meale

- Attendance: 741

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