A dire display on Saturday saw St Albans City suffer a 4-0 loss to Gosport Borough and left Ian Allinson questioning his players' desire.

Both sides came into the game with a record of one win in 16 games, but the gulf in class was apparent from the off as City surrendered limply to their relegation-threatened rivals.

With their National League South play-off hopes all but over, Allinson refused to spare his misfiring squad, accusing them of lacking passion.

"When it gets like it did today it actually hurts and I am not sure it hurt any of the players today," Allinson said.

"The performance was the worst we have had since I have been here and I also said that a couple of weeks ago. It is a major problem and I have to do something about it.

"We can't win battles at the moment and that is the most important thing to do.

"We haven't come together as a group and don't work hard enough without the ball and certainly don't work hard enough when we do have the ball."

City's current form, which has seen them drop to 11th in the table, is a far cry from the manner in which they started the campaign when they looked set for a prolonged promotion push.

A large turnover of playing staff has occurred in that time and City look well short of both confidence and quality.

Allinson once again defended the club's decision to allow a number of players to leave the club, but admits he has been disappointed by his side's post-Christmas slump.

"The group at the start of the season worked extremely hard. We weren't the greatest team but we earned the right to win games of football," he said.

"We had match winners on the pitch, but unfortunately results since Christmas have put us where we are now.

"Some of the players who were here at the start of the season have gone off the boil and are no longer at the football club.

"That was right from the football club's point of view because we want footballers who are going to try hard. This bunch are trying but we can't get the happy medium with results as well."

After going behind to Tony Lee's third minute strike a Joe Lea effort and further Lee goal left City trailing 3-0 at the interval against Gosport.

Ollie Bailey added extra insult with a fourth three minutes from time to condemn City to a defeat which leaves them 11 points shy of the play-offs.

Hopes of promotion will surely have to be put on the backburner until next season and the Saints immediate focus will turn to a home game against Dartford on Saturday.

It looks to be a thankless task for Allinson's beleaguered outfit, with the visitors suffering just one defeat in their last 10 league outings.

Their strong form has taken them to third in the table and an eight point gap to fifth place Poole Town should be enough to secure them a play-off berth.

Defeat could see City drop to 12th.