The visitors dominated the second half in Lincolnshire but were undone by an 83rd minute winner from substitute Bacon who powered home after good work down the right by Alex Wollerton.
“We didn’t quote do what we wanted of them in the first half and, although they didn’t really pressure us, we weren’t effective enough,” Clifford said post-game.
“Second half we fixed a few things and make a few early substitutions and thought that had a real impact – from there we got a stranglehold on the game.
“We started to create chances and I’m not sure how many there were – upwards of 8, perhaps – and they’re the key chances where we thought we should be scoring goals and we’ve not managed to score one.
“That’s a real problem for us. If you don’t score goals in football matches, you don’t win. As a collective, we have to start taking chances.”
Clifford made two changes from last week’s defeat at Scarborough as Declan Dunn and Kieran Wells both dropped to the bench.
Ryan Wilson dropped deeper in midfield whilst Liam Hearn made his debut, leading the line with Rev James and Kane Richards.
The hosts started brightly, but it was James who carved out the first half-opportunity of the match when he raced away following Hearn’s hacked clearance at the other end.
One-on-one with George Hornshaw on half-way, James skinned the full back but lacked the composure needed to finish as Matt Yates closed the angle down.
The best chances then came in quick succession at either end.
Firstly, Callum Minkey blazed well over after Cieron Keane’s free-kick – awarded after the impressive 17-year-old Lincoln City loanee Tavon Makama was hauled down – went all the way through.
Seconds later, another dangerous cross, this time by Ryan Wilson, was flicked goalwards by the unmarked Dom Roma but the effort lacked the real power to trouble Yates.
Former United stalwart Lewis Carr then flicked wide from Joe Wilson before Matt Thornhill was clipped in the area, but referee Anthony Tankard only awarded a free kick when a penalty looked clear.
Thornhill’s resultant effort was easy for Yates as the inquest continued well into the half-time break.
A mellow start to the second half was brought alive on the hour when Roma had another gilt-edged chance to open the scoring, but his improved header was superbly parried away by Yates and from there United were dominant.
Richards then forced the ‘keeper into another fine save from the angle soon after and Marcus Marshall really should have done better with a snatched effort after Richards had danced his way through the tackles of three.
The pressure continued 15 minutes from time; Ryan Wilson’s whipped free kick was flicked on by Brad Gascoigne but headed well over by Richards at the back post.
And the striker’s frustrating afternoon was summed up when he poked wide of Yates’ goal after Thornhill had dispossessed former Notts County midfielder Neal Bishop deep in his own half.
Marshall then forced Yates into another fine save when he flicked wide another Thornhill cross before the cruel sucker punch arrived moments later when recent Stamford recruit Cameron Johnson advanced down the right.
His journey into the box was taken over by Wollerton and his low, wicked cross went all the way through for Bacon who powered home the opener, to the relief of the decent home attendance.
Marshall had yet another chance late on – this time to seal a point – but his header, this time on the end from James’ cross was again tipped to safety by Yates with the last of the game’s action.
Next up, manager Clifford and his new backroom host at Greenwich Avenue for the first time since taking charge as United welcome Nantwich Town to Nottingham (15:00).
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY: Matt Yates, Joe Wilson (Cameron Johnson 54’), George Hornshaw, Neal Bishop, Lewis Carr, Callum Minkley, Alex Wollerton, Elicha Ahui, Jovon Makama, Cieron Keane, Toby Gould (Declan Bacon 59’)
SUBS (not used): Theo Hudson, Curtis Morrison, Brad Grayson
BASFORD UNITED: Jordan Pierrepont, Owen Betts, Mitchell Tait (Declan Dunn 53’), Dom Roma, Brad Gascoigne, Ryan Wilson, Terry Hawkridge (Kieran Wells 87’), Matt Thornhill, Liam Hearn (Marcus Marshall 53’), Kane Richards, Rev James
SUBS (not used): Nathaniel Peters, Gianni Musson
ATT: 517 (24 away)