Horsham boss Dominic Di Paola praised his players for a showing ‘character’ in the second half during their 5-2 defeat at home to Whyteleafe.
They got off to a terrible start and trailed 3-0 at the break thanks to a Scott Day brace plus a goal by Nkori-Venceslas Bola.
Horsham striker Darren Boswell scored two goals, including a wondergoal from a narrow angle which went in off the post, to make the scoreline 3-2 and set Horsham on course to go on to try to win the match.
However the referee played a part in Whyteleafe increasing their lead and then sealing victory with a fifth goal.
The official awarded the visitors a controversial penalty despite Dean Bown seemingly making contact with the ball during his challenge on former Hornet Ikechi Eze.
Sam Clayton scored from the ensuing spot-kick to extend Whyteleafe’s lead.
Di Paola said: “In the first half we were a disgrace, we were appalling. We have been poor like this for the last six weeks.”
He revealed: “During half-time I gave them a strong talking-to.
“We were brilliant in the second half and the players showed a lot of character.”
Di Paola disagreed with referee John Pike’s decision to award a penalty to Whyteleafe which he believes had no foundation.
He said: “If it wasn’t for that decision we could have got something from the game.
“He gave a penalty which no-one appealed for.
“From they this they scored to make it 4-2.”
Mr Pike’s influence continued when he accidentally blocked a Horsham pass from which play switched to the other end of the pitch and Bola netted a fifth goal, which finally ended Horsham’s hopes of getting points.
The frustrated Hornets manager added: “He blocked one of our passes - they then got the ball and took it to the other end of the field and scored.”
Di Paola praised his two-goal hero Darren Boswell for getting Horsham back into the game.
He said: “Darren Boswell has got to be in the top 20 players in this league.It’s whether he fancies it (becoming the best in the league).
“After the first half they played with a bit of character.
“I was pleased with everyone in the second half, they played a lot better and with more belief.”
Horsham: Pelling, Walsh, Watson, Gayler, Shelley, Farmer, Landais, Bown (House 83), Boswell (Street 79), Adelakun, Axell (Rogers 43) Unused subs: Whiteley
Referee: John Pike