Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland blamed missed chances and poor defending for his side’s 2-1 defeat to Loxwood - their third loss in the last four Premier Division games.
YM, who are without a win in the league since their 2-0 victory at Hassocks on the March 17, have slipped to fourth in the league.
This comes as a dramatic downturn in form as, prior to their 2-0 league defeat against Chichester, YM had won eight consecutive games, conceding just once.
Buckland said: “We’ve lost form, coupled with some rotten luck on the injury front right at the wrong time of the season. Whilst it’s not dead, we’ve made it very difficult for ourselves (to win the title).
“It’s a shame because we’ve put a whole load of hard work over a long period of time, and we’ve been without some key players over the last four weeks. When you’ve got a squad of 18, and play with a consistent team that are on a good run, taking four or five out will unbalance it.”
In one of many opportunities, Luke Gedling missed from the penalty spot after 27 minutes, but, five minutes later, Dave Brown put YM ahead from close range.
However, the Magpies turned the game around via a bizarre own goal by Luke Donaldson and a long range effort by Michael Wood, which caught keeper Aaron Jeal off guard.
Buckland bemoaned several glaring misses and misfortune for their latest defeat. He added: “We can’t continue to miss chances like we did Saturday and expect to win games.
“I can’t remember them having more than one shot on target which was their second goal, and I was disgusted with my keeper for not saving it. It was outside of the area and it was a scuff.
“The other was the most outrageous own goal you’ll ever see. The only people in the box were YMCA players and Luke Donaldson back heeled it into his own net. Between the keeper and Luke they totally fluffed it up and I was angry with them.
“You make your own luck in football but sometimes you go through a period where nothing goes right and you’ve got to take it on the chin and move on.”
With promotion still on the cards, Buckland stressed that YM must play with ‘no pressure’ to have a chance.
“There’s five games left and we’ll just have to see where it takes us”, he said. “If we win them all then who knows where it will take us as I think second will be good enough to go up this year.”
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Harding, Evans, Gilbert (Curtis 65), Gedling, Donaldson (Garrod 60), Dugdale (capt), Johnson, Moore (Cave 60), Brown.