BRIDPORT’S Chris Herbst admitted the Bees are all but resigned to relegation after the 4-0 defeat to Exmouth Town on Boxing Day.

Bridport have only taken three points from 24 games and are 13 points off safety with 12 matches remaining.

Should they not escape the bottom two, Bridport must record enough points per game to earn one of the 12 reprieves set out by the FA for Step 5 clubs finishing in the drop zone at the end of the season.

Herbst, who was filling in for the isolating caretaker boss Shaun Annetts, only had 11 players to choose from at Exmouth, naming himself and goalkeeping coach Mark Tozer on the bench.

After going 3-0 down inside 30 minutes, fears grew over a possible repeat of the 12-1 drubbing by Millbrook last time out.

READ MORE: Exmouth Town 4-0 Bridport - match report

But a defiant Bees side held Exmouth for almost the entire second half – bucking a trend of late collapses – before Town finally grabbed a fourth in stoppage-time.

And Herbst called for Bridport to carry that fighting spirit into the remainder of the Toolstation Western League Premier Division season.

He told the Bridport & Lyme Regis News: “First half, as soon as we conceded one you’re thinking: ‘How many?’

“Then Greg (Taylor) made some great saves and in the changing room we said they need to battle for each other, not just give up and throw the towel in.

“It showed. They did have chances but we battled hard and everyone was fighting. Hopefully, if they can do that for the last 12 games, just rally around, the results shouldn’t be as bad.

“I think relegation is probably done, but it’s just showing that you want to be at the club for next year.

“Going down would be better. (Division One) is still going to be a tough league but they need to get the right manager in and need more players to come in.”

Herbst also paid credit to the returning Kriss Radivojsa, who fought through 90 minutes on his return from a knee injury.

Herbst said: “Rads has only just come back. He was out for two months I think.

“For him to come in and do 90 – he said to me before: ‘I don’t know how long I’m going to last’ – I thought he played really well.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s clash at Bridgwater United, Herbst added: “I think Shaun’s going to be there. If not, it would be thee same deal – I’ll take it again.

“It would be (nice to see) the battling and fighting for each other. We’ll have more players on the bench.

“Every game seems to be even tougher with the situation we’re in but we’ll go there and have a go at least.”

Bridport’s Dan Baggs, Dom McAllister and Adam Steele are available.