ROVERS crashed to a disastrous defeat at home to Eastleigh on Saturday after a poor performance.

The players seemed sluggish from the start, in contrast to the play-off chasing visitors who were quick and eager to win possession and assert themselves.

We had no answer to the pressure they were exerting and it was no surprise when they took the lead, even if it came as a result of an uncharacteristic slip-up by goalie Mildenhall.

The midfield pairing of former Rovers duo Stanley and Pell were far better than Lockyer and Mansell in Rovers’ engine room, and they looked like they had returned to the club with a point to prove.

The ball was being given away in a sloppy fashion, there was no creativity or service to the strikers and the defence was out of sorts.

There was no significant improvement in the second half as Eastleigh put the game to bed with another goal and could have added a third but for a brilliant goalline clearance from Parkes.

Taylor grabbed a consolation for Rovers with a well taken strike but it was too little, too late, and our opponents claimed a deserved victory and ended our 20-game unbeaten run.

News that Barnet had also lost at home to Forest Green softened the blow as Rovers remained top and Macclesfield also only drew.

The Pirates cannot afford any more slip-ups and we can only hope that this poor performance is now out of the system and there will be no repeat.

Clarke has moved quickly to fill the void left by the injured and much-missed Sinclair in midfield by signing former Rovers player Chris Lines on loan for the rest of the season from Port Vale.

On his day he was an all-action midfielder who could score goals, so if we can rediscover that form and impose himself on the Conference he could be highly influential during the final eight games.

Rovers need to bounce back at Halifax on Saturday to prove last week’s display was just a blip and get the promotion campaign back on track.

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