Dungannon Swifts chief Darren Murphy declared his boys must stop “gifting goals” if they are to have any chance of landing a top six place.
The former hard-tackling midfielder was again pulling out his hair with the midweek home defeat by Ballymena United due to some “sloppy defending”.
Murphy is demanding an improvement, starting with Saturday’s trip to Clandeboye Park to face Premiership basement boys Ards.
“I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but we conceded another two poor goals in the first half against Ballymena and were eventually downed by a piece of brilliance by (Darren) Boyce – that’s why we lost the game,” he said.
“When you concede goals like we do, you don’t deserve to win games. Apart from the sloppy goals we give away, I was happy enough with our performance against United.
“We are falling off the pace a little bit – an eight point gap has developed between ourselves and Ballymena, who currently occupy that sixth place position.
“So we can’t afford to let that gap widen. But it will not be easy against an Ards side that are battling for the lives at the bottom of the table.”
Even though is team are still rooted to the bottom off the table – they are now eight points adrift of 11th placed Warrenpoint Town – Ards manager Niall Quinn was satisfied with the battling display against the Reds.
“I was proud of the players,” he said. “We went into the game with seven guys out injured and two suspended. We were that depleted, we couldn’t even fill our subs’ bench.
“So the players deserved credit – they put in great effort and showed great desire. I couldn’t complain.”