Alex Pike was furious with Gosport Borough’s defending after they twice surrendered the lead to draw 3-3 with Larkhall Athletic, meaning they must replay the FA Cup second qualifying round tie tomorrow night.
Goals from Matt Paterson and Justin Bennett had given the visitors a solid-looking two-goal lead, before they were pegged back by two goals from Tyler Sibbick.
Then Steve Ramsey thought he’d won the game for Borough late on, before Luke Bryan equalised in the 94th minute to keep Larkhall in the competition.
Gosport boss Pike did not enjoy what was a great game for the neutral.
He said: ‘I’m not disappointed by the game, I’m furious. The players have been told in no uncertain terms how I feel about it.
‘We defended worse than school boys.
‘When you go two goals up against a side from a lower level, you know they have nothing to lose.
‘They’ll throw everything at you and we needed to just close the game out.’
The Vanarama South side, who were impressive last week in their 3-0 victory at Bromley, took the lead at Plain Ham just past the half hour mark.
Mike Carter set up Paterson with a good ball that the striker finished superbly.
Gosport had a lot of chances to double their advantage.
But the Larks keeper Alex Shaftoe was in impressive form to ensure the home side remained in the contest.
But Pike felt his team should have had enough of an advantage to ensure they made smooth progress into the next round.
‘The goalkeeper made four or five world-class saves and that kept them in it,’ said Pike.
‘We are two leagues higher, though, and need to be able to close the game out.
‘At 2-0, with 25 minutes to go, you expect your experienced players to know how to hold onto that lead.’
After Sibbick had equalised for the home side, Pike put on Ramsey for the closing stages.
And with one of his first touches of the ball, almost everyone in the stadium thought he’d won it for the visitors, with a shot that looped over Shaftoe in a crowded penalty area.
But even that did not prove to be enough for Gosport to secure a place in the next round.
Pike added: ‘I put a sub on and he (Ramsey) gets us out of jail and puts our noses ahead again.
‘We had minutes left, to see the game out but another bit of shoddy defending has left their player with a free header.’
The 3-3 draw now means the two sides will meet again tomorrow night, by which time they will know who the opposition will be for the winners in the next round of the competition.
But boss Pike knows it will be another hard game, in order to get there.
He knows Larkhall will certainly not be fearing their higher-division opponents when they come to the south coast.
Pike said: We’re meant to be two leagues above them and they’ve scored three goals against us, so why should they be afraid of us?
‘They have nothing to lose and it’ll be another tough match.’
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Woodward, Williams, Carter, Forbes, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Paterson, Bennett, Wilde. Subs: Ramsey, Matthews, Wort, Saez, Shaw