JOHN Sussex conceded it was ‘a familiar story’ as Basildon United were consigned to a 1-0 defeat at Maldon & Tiptree.

Liam Hope scored what proved to be the only goal of the Isthmian North encounter as the Bees fell short at Park Drive.

And Sussex hopes Basildon will start to pick up positive results sooner rather than later.

The Bees boss said: “It was a familiar story, I’m afraid.

“We worked really hard and defended really hard as a team.

“We put in another fine performance and came out the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline.

“I keep saying it but I’m very frustrated.

“We’re very close but we haven’t quite got the quality within the side to see the game out or pinch a game.

“We’ll keep working and hopefully things will start to happen for us.”

Maldon goalkeeper Ben McNamara made early saves to keep out an Eli Benoit header and Matthew Brinklow’s deflected strike.

Bees custodian Russell Harley rushed off his line to thwart Eddie-Louis Dsane after the striker had been played through on goal by Laste Dombaxe.

High-flying Maldon should have taken the lead two minutes before the break after the referee pointed to the spot for a trip.

However, Jack Cawley’s penalty struck the crossbar and the clash remained goalless heading into the break.

Maldon broke the deadlock nine minutes after the interval as Oluwatobi Coker and Dsane combined before Hope fired home.

Basildon almost profited from a bizarre own goal when Callum Taylor’s centre skewed off Billy Roast’s boot and ballooned up before falling just wide of the post.

Taylor was kept out by McNamara before Rob Hodgson headed a late corner over the crossbar.