Graham Westley admitted his Stevenage side were facing 'mission impossible' in their bid to avoid relegation from League 1 after losing 3-2 at home to fellow strugglers Colchester United.
Boro took the lead through Michael Doughty after just 11 minutes but Freddie Sears struck twice either side of a Jabo Ibehre strike to put the U's 3-1 up.
Stevenage hit back at the death through Luke Freeman but it was too little, too late and their misery was compounded when Filipe Morais was sent off for violent conduct.
Boro are now four points adrift of safety with four games to go and while vowing to fight on, Westley accepts the chances of survival are remote.
"In terms of our survival chances, it's probably mission impossible now," said the Stevenage manager.
"Everyone will write us off. We've got four games to go and probably need to win them all now, which is obviously a big ask for us.
"But we will fight on to the bitter end and we certainly won't give up.``
On the game itself, Westley said: "We made a great start and were one-up going into half-time but had not really played with the belief that we could go on and score more goals to build on our advantage.
"I was trying to get a message across to the players to be more positive but it was too late and Colchester scored just before the break, which then gave them an extra bit of belief for the second half.
"After the break we came out with a game plan but, before you knew it, we'd conceded again and were 2-1 down."
By contrast Colchester can breathe a little easier after climbing to 18th in the table, but manager Joe Dunne insists there is still a long way to go.
"It was a big game and I thought we were very good in the second half. We were magnificent," said Dunne.
"The first half was scrappy and edgy but we started to get the ball down and play after the break.
"We could have won by more and I have to pay great credit to my players. We spoke at half-time about being a bit more composed on the ball.
"We made a couple of tweaks to our midfield and it worked exceptionally well. We were first to everything, especially in the second half, and quick to close down. That was the key.
"We sensed the third goal was coming. We were camped in their final third and every time we broke forward it looked like we were going to score.
"It was a big game and, at this stage of the season, an important win. However, there are still more matches to go and next week becomes another big game.
"It was a big victory but my job now is to make sure we win next week too."