Desborough Town 4 Holbeach United 3: BEMUSED John Chand slammed his side after they squandered a winning position on Monday.
The Tigers led three times at Waterworks Field, but shipped two goals in the last ten minutes to an Ar Tarn side that had only won twice this season in the UCL Premier Division.
A 15th defeat in 21 league games saw Holbeach slip into the bottom three – and they are now caught up in a relegation dogfight.
To make matters worse, Mitch Griffiths will miss three games after a red card for violent conduct in the closing stages.
But Chand, who has big plans for next season, still believes his stuttering side will come good if they can improve their slack defending.
He said: “I think that’s the third time we’ve lost 4-3 away this season.
“If you score three goals away from home, you shouldn’t be losing. Our defending was poor and every time they attacked it looked like we’d concede.
“But what’s more annoying is that some people just won’t follow instructions.
“When you’re winning and there’s nine minutes left you can’t be as naive as we were.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow when certain players ignore what they’ve been told. Something has to change and there’s only so many times you can give players another chance.”
The Tigers took a tenth minute lead in the basement battle through Lee Orrey, but Desborough soon levelled through Ryan Gormley.
Orrey and Barrett Steward then spurned a host of gilt-edged chances before the latter restored Holbeach’s lead after the break.
A Daniel Kitching penalty restored parity again, only for Griffiths to bag what looked like the winner after fine work from Steward.
But once again the Tigers hit the self-destruct button, with Gormley and then Kevin Byrne – moments after Griffiths was given his marching orders – stealing an unlikely win for the hosts.
Desborough – who occupy the second relegation spot – are now just two points behind Chand’s men.
Tigers: Cole, Thompson, Newton, Baker, Courtley, Griffiths, Allen, Lewis, Slater (Keeble 63), Orrey, Steward (Mason 82). Not used: Broom, Johnson, Elston.
•KEY trio Omar Joof, Matt Warfield and Pete Smith return for Saturday’s trip to Northampton Spencer (3pm).
Loan signing Simon Mowbray may also make his debut if he can shrug off a groin problem. Should he feature, it will likely be as a substitute.