DORCHESTER Town manager Steve Thompson wants to "keep distance" between his side and bottom club Gosport Borough as the two head into their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier tussle at the Avenue Stadium tonight (7.45pm).

Thompson saw his side succumb to a second-half meltdown against Hereford on Saturday, losing 4-1 at Edgar Street after earning a 1-0 half-time lead, in a performance the Magpies' boss lambasted as "awful".

But just 48 hours after that defeat, Thompson's men have the chance to move on against winless Borough.

He told Echosport: "It's a very big game. We want to keep distance between us and them.

"I think every game is important home or away but we're playing a team below us so it's an important game. We want to increase the gap between the two teams.

"If we play like we did in the first half against Hereford I'm confident, but if we play like we did in the second half we'll lose the game."

A Jimmy Oates own goal gave Dorchester a 10th-minute lead but they were trampled by the Bulls as Lance Smith, Keyon Reffell and a brace from John Mills gave the hosts all three points.

And Thompson feels the difference in the Magpies' performance level from the first to the second half is a "mystery".

He said: "The hard thing to fathom is how we can go from decent and being organised and fit to looking very disorganised and unfit in the second half.

"That's a little bit of a mystery. I've had a long chat with the Hereford team and asked them to send me the full highlights to look at and see if I can put my finger on anything in the second half.

"It's too simplistic to say it's a lack of fitness. It's mental strength, people taking responsibility and sorting things out. That doesn't seem to be happening at the moment.

"We've got no time to work on it. All I can do is watch the video and put my finger on something that might have happened that gives us a drastic difference in performance between the first and second half."

Commenting on the Magpies' collapse in the second half, in which they conceded four goals in 18 minutes, Thompson believes that type of spell has occurred "quite a few times" this season.

He said: "It's very disappointing. It's not the first time it's happened this season. We've had a similar thing at Farnborough.

"When one goes in, quite a few go in. It's something that's happened quite a few times and we've got to put an end to it. It's certainly a lot to work on, that's for sure."

Despite being satisfied after the first half, Thompson failed to see any positives from the second period.

"I was quite pleased with the energy we showed in the first half with the tempo and the way they went about doing what we asked for.

"I felt the quality needed to be better. We had a couple of chances and I felt we deserved a goal which was disallowed. The referee gave a foul on the goalkeeper and the goalie just came and fell over a player.

"I've seen some positive signs in the first half and I didn't see any positive signs in the second half. I thought we were awful and got what we deserved," he said.

Before kick-off Dorchester announced former Weymouth goalkeeper Matt Cafer as their latest signing.

Thompson said: "It's good for Dorchester and it's good for Chris Weale to have Matt around. He gives him some real competition for that number one spot.

"We heard that Matt was having problems at Gosport and had left. So Trevor (Senior) knew about that situation and Chris has been carrying a slight knock.

"If something happened to him we have a very competent keeper to come in and perform."