Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has pointed to ‘sloppy mistakes and school-boy errors’ for costing them dearly against Walton Casuals on Saturday.
The Hornets conceded four goals for the third time in five matches in a 4-2 defeat to their play-off chasing visitors.
Goals from Alex Kelly and Youseff Bamba put Casuals 2-0 ahead at half-time and although Alfie Rogers pulled one back, Bamba hit a second with 15 minutes left to restore the two-goal cushion.
Curtis Gayler netted from the penalty spot to set up a grandstand finish, but Casuals’ Josh Kelly made the points safe with a minute left to play.
Di Paola felt their were silly mistakes made in the goals they conceded with the defeat leaving his side with a mountain to climb if they are to sneak into the top ten in the Bostik League South Division.
They are currently 13th on 53 points, nine behind tenth-placed Phoenix Sports, but Herne Bay and Thamesmead Town, who occupy the places in between, both have games in hand.
Di Paola gave an honest assessment from Saturday’s defeat, saying: “In the first half, they were much better than us. We didn’t really turn up and were not that good at all.
“Second half I thought it was quite even and it went to 2-1 and I thought we had them on the rack a bit.
“Then we committed another error; Scott Kirkwood was a misplaced pass and they broke and scored. At 3-1 we were doing well again and got it to 3-2 with a penalty after a handball in the area, their guy slide in and touched it on the floor.
“It looked cagey with ten minutes to go and there was a bit of potential if we could take them to the last ten minutes and get a set-piece.
“Again, we did something silly and lost the ball from a short free kick, then Pells (Josh Pelling) dollied one up and they scored.
“They were the better team and deserved to win. We could have made the last ten minutes very nervy and maybe come away with a point.
“As usual, sloppy mistakes and school boy errors have cost us. It’s happen a lot in the last few weeks and maybe it’s because there is not much to play and we are lacking composure.”
Horsham lost midfielder Ryan Worrall early in the first half on Saturday to an ankle injury and he now looks to join their ever-growing injury list, likely to miss the rest of the season.
Di Paola added: “It’s the same old story and a bit depressing if I am honest. We keep getting these injuries that aren’t a few days or weeks, they a month-long or more injuries.
“Alex Duncan, Steve Metcalf and Lewis Hyde are all out now and that’s just the defenders. It is incredible we have managed to put a competitive team out when you look at how many injuries we have had.
“I keep saying I am actually going to sit down and write down how many players we have lost and for how many weeks of the season.
“It is what it is and there are five games to go. We will see out the season and pray we never get another season like it - we can only hope.”