Salisbury City maintained their position at the top of the table thanks to a late winner from goal-machine Jamie White against an injury-hit Eastbourne Borough.
Boss Tommy Widdrington was named among the substitutes for the trip to the table-toppers.
Although the 40-year-old manager was not called into competitive action, it did highlight a worrying lack of players available for selection at this early stage of the season.
Borough boss Widdrington said,“I was gutted for the players.
“They put everything in to the match and as I manager I cannot ask for anymore than that.
“Salisbury are one of the form teams in this division. I always knew it was going to be a tough ask with the injuries but unfortunately we came up a little short in the end.
“They (Salisbury) look a decent side. They have a good young management team in place and I’m sure they will be up there near the end.
“Their striker Jamie is a talent. He scored a good goal for them at the end and that made all the difference.”
Of Borough’s recent lack of goals, Widdrington added, “Once we get all of our players back I’m sure we will be ok. We were missing six of our first team starters and any team will struggle with that.”
The Whites of Salisbury made a strong start, keeping up the momentum gained during their midweek win over fellow high-flyers Bath.
Dan Fitchett had a few early chances, including a strong penalty claim ruled to be just outside the area. But Widdrington was not going to make life easy for his ex-club. And despite rarely testing keeper Will Puddy, Borough were well organised and created a few half-chances.
Most notably for midfield schemer Josh Scowen who had a couple of decent efforts that flew just wide of the post.
The scores were goalless after an even first half but the hosts cranked up the pressure on a hard working Borough side after the break.
The commitment levels were there for all to see as Gary Hart, Josh Scowen, Chris Morgan and Gorman all went into the referee’s notebook as they battled for the Borough cause.
Fitchett, White and Theo Lewis all had promising efforts but Widdrington’s men maintained their discipline and were determined to take home a point from the endeavours.
And with a goalless draw looking the inevitable outcome, White popped up to produce a dramatic late winner.
Salisbury boss Clarke’s move to throw Robbie Matthews on inside 60 minutes turned out to be a great success.
The substitute set up White whose first effort was stopped by ‘keeper Danny Potter, but the former Saints striker made no mistake second time around, converting the rebound to take the three points.
It was White’s sixth goal of the season for Salisbury. Last year the former Southampton youngster netted more than 50 goals for Wessex League outfit Winchester.
Salisbury assistant manager Mikey Harris said, “Eastbourne came to frustrate us but we stuck to our plan throughout and deserved to take all three points.”
Salisbury: Puddy, Udoji, Hart, Clark (Matthews 59), Clarke, Dutton (Preen 75), McPhee, Brett, White, Fitchett, Lewis Booked: Fitchett
Goals: White 84
Borough: Potter, Baker (Gilbert 67), Rowe, Turpin, Cole, Gorman, Hart, Scowen, Knight, Ademeno, Morgan (Lok 84)Unused Subs: Carr, Widdrington, Jordan
Booked: Hart, Scowen, Morgan, Gorman Ref: Mr Quelch
MOM: David Knight