Colchester United manager Joe Dunne has urged his side to keep believing after they were beaten 1-0 at Crawley Town.
The U’s lie just two points above the League One relegation zone and have won only one of their last nine matches, following their narrow defeat at the Broadfield Stadium.
Mike Jones’ scored Crawley’s all-important winner just before half-time.
And although Colchester improved in the second half, with Sanchez Watt and substitute Dominic Vose both hitting the woodwork, it was not to be the visitors’ day.
Dunne said: “The players are trying exceptionally hard and they don’t like losing.
“We’re in a bit of a difficult run at the moment but we have to keep believing in ourselves.
“It’s another defeat unfortunately and it’s one against a team who are in and around us.
“We can’t start games like we did and have first-half performances where we’re standing off people.
“It was disappointing after our second-half performance but the game is longer than one 45 minutes.
“It was a wonderful response in the second half; they had the first half but we had the second, for sure.
“We got in some good positions in the final third, pressurized them and got about them a bit more.
“We had good opportunities to score but we’re just not taking them at the moment and the luck was with Crawley in the second half.”
For five pages of coverage of Colchester’s defeat at Crawley, see Monday’s Daily Gazette.