BASINGSTOKE Town have released Michael Gilkes from his role as first-team manager with immediate effect.

The former Reading player took over from Jason Bristow when he stood down in late November, but has been unable to steer the Dragons away from the National League South danger zone.

The north Hampshire club are marooned seven points adrift at the bottom of the table having collected just 27 points from 34 games.

They lurched further into trouble on Saturday, beaten 1-0 by a Jake Robinson goal at Whitehawk. It was the Hawks' first home win since October 3.

Basingstoke have placed on record their thanks for Gilkes' efforts since taking the position and will make further announcements tomorrow.