Worthing Football Club fell to a sixth successive Ryman League Premier Division defeat on Tuesday.
Ryan Blackman’s first half penalty and Simon Thomas’ strike in the second helped Canvey Island to a 2-0 home victory.
A difficult evening ended in tricky circumstances with skipper Kane Wills shown a second yellow 15 minutes from time, before Lloyd Dawes was forced off with a hamstring strain soon after.
With Worthing stretched at the end, joint manager Gary Elphick was proud of his young players.
He said: “We ended with six players under the age of 18 on the field. I’ve got great pride in the young players that have come in but we can’t keep relying on them.
“Myself and Jon Meeney (Worthing joint manager) will be sitting down with the board today and trying to address the issue we've got at the minute.
"Since Omar's departure, we've had some rotten luck with injuries and we need to bolster the squad now. We can't keep placing the strain and pressure on these young players. To be bringing in six or seven at one time is not something we can continue to do."
Jack Cook was adjudged to have handled inside the area with a spot-kick awarded. Blackman slammed the resulting penalty home nine minutes before the break.
Thomas then added a second eight minutes after the interval.
Frustrations boiled over 15 minutes from time with a reckless Wills tackle resulting in him being shown a second yellow.
Elphick felt his side struggled to recover after falling behind to Blackman's spot-kick.
He added: "It was a dreadful decision for the penalty. Cooky (Jack Cook) has done so well chesting back to the goalkeeper but the referee has given a penalty for handball. That then stuck with him for the rest of the game and he struggled to recover.
"After Kane was sent off, Lloyd was forced off through injury. We finished up with six players under the age of 18 on the pitch. Full credit to those involved, they kept pushing all the way to the end and that gave me great pride."
Worthing remain 13th in the table following the defeat, nine points clear of fourth-bottom AFC Sudbury and the final relegation place.
Elphick believes the squad need to turn things around quickly to make sure they do not get sucked into a relegation scrap.
He said: "These young players are under enough pressure already without getting dragged into a battle at the bottom. We'll be looking to recruit before Harrow Borough on Saturday and start to turn things around."
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