BOSS Tom Killick described as "a hammer blow" Poole Town's heavy 4-0 defeat by Eastbourne Borough at the Black Gold Stadium on Saturday.

The reverse left the struggling Dolphins 20th in National South and four points adrift of safety ahead of a daunting series of fixtures.

Poole found themselves 2-0 down after just 19 minutes as goals from Lloyd Dawes and Charles Harris left the hosts with a mountain to climb.

Gavin McCallum added a third on 37 minutes before the same player applied the coup de grâce in injury time.

Poole face four of the top nine in their next four matches, starting with a trip to eighth-placed Braintree.

And sandwiched between visits from Hampton & Richmond Borough on March 3 and Bath City on March 17, they travel to leaders Dartford on March 10.

Killick told the Daily Echo: "We had an horrendous start. We conceded after a few minutes and, when confidence is fragile, that sort of thing is always going to cause difficulties.

"We hit the post soon after that but that was about as good as it got. We capitulated. We were 3-0 down at half-time and the game was pretty much done.

We could have come out all guns blazing in the second half but we didn’t really pose them any problems.

"It was an insipid performance and, when you are supposedly fighting for your lives, there is no excuse for that.

"You can excuse a lack of quality but there wasn’t an awful lot of passion on show and that is the thing that really sticks in your throat.

"It was such a vital game in terms of being at home and playing Eastbourne who are in and around us.

"We have put a lot of pressure on ourselves but nobody expected us to get anything at Hemel who were flying high when we won there.

"We have to try to keep belief but Saturday was a hammer blow."

Dolphins: Hutchings, Williams, Smeeton, Spetch, Lindsay (Leslie-Smith, 80), Moore, Baghdadi, Bedford (Devlin, h-t), Bentley, Brooks, Gillespie (Balmer, 70). Unused subs: Pettefer, Rees (g/k).