Shaun Gale believes the defeat at the hands of Blue Square Bet South leaders Woking illustrated the Jeykll & Hyde nature of the Hawks.
The Westleigh Park boss reckons he saw the best and worst of his men as they went down to a heartbreaking 4-3 home defeat on Saturday.
He was delighted with their display in attack and believes they deserved a return from the match – had it not been for more poor defending.
‘This defeat is extremely tough to take,’ said Gale.
‘To score three goals at home against the leaders and still lose is a bitter pill to swallow.
‘The game showed how good we can be and how poor defensively we are at this time.
‘Having made a dream start we allowed a very good Woking side to dictate to us.
‘We couldn’t argue against the fantastic finish for their first goal but we gifted them the other two before half-time.
‘First we switch off at a throw-in and then failed three times to clear the ball to let them in for a third goal.
‘We have been causing ourselves these sort of problems all season.
‘I thought in the end we ran them very close and deserved to get something out of the game.’
Despite being heavy favourites for victory, the title-chasing Cards were left clinging on for dear life at the final whistle.
The Hawks produced a superb display in front of a bumper four-figure crowd but that was scant consolation as the club’s fight for survival goes on.
Ollie Palmer honoured his pledge to score against his old team putting the Hawks ahead with a close-range finish after only three minutes.
Woking then showed just why they are in line to win the title by taking charge and scoring three times before the break.
Former Hawks striker Giuseppe Sole curled a magnificent free-kick into the top corner before the hosts displayed their generosity.
The home defence were slow to react to a quick throw, allowing former Pompey youngster Paris Cowan-Hall to smash in an angled shot.
And on the stroke of half-time more hesitant defending enabled the Cowan-Hall to double his tally.
Steve Ramsey continued his rich goalscoring form straight after the break with a terrific low strike to restore hope but that was to prove another false dawn.
On 53 minutes the unmarked Moses Ademola drove a shot past Lyall Beazley to impose the visitors’ superiority once more.
The Hawks, though, were nothing if not stubborn.
And when Palmer grabbed his second 13 minutes from time, suddenly it was the Cards who looked likely to come tumbling down.
An equaliser failed to materialise, though, leaving the Hawks deep in relegation trouble.
‘When you are down at the bottom you always get punished for mistakes,’ said Gale
‘We are all bitterly disappointed but the players gave their all and were on their knees at the end.
‘We have to learn quickly and things have got to change.
‘There are still 30 points to play for and we have to do better.
‘It is a fine line between winning and losing games and we are the wrong side of that line at the moment.’
Hawks: Beazley 8; Newton 6, Arthur 7, Ryan 7, Dolan 6, Pearce 6, Hutchinson 6 (Igoe 68mins – 6), Ramsey 8, Jones 7, Palmer 8, Hopkinson 5 (Thompson 64mins – 7). Att: 1,009