POOR defending cost the Hawks as they were beaten 3-2 by Welling United in Vanarama National League South at Westleigh Park.
The team are usually built on a solid defence and it was unusual to see them make sloppy errors.
Manager Lee Bradbury was disappointed.
But even with the mistakes the team still came close to snatching a point in a dramatic finale.
The home side had found themselves outmanoeuvred by the fast counter-attacking visitors and late on in the match the Hawks squandered an unlikely chance to salvage something from the game.
In a breathless final seven minutes Welling had two players sent off, including their goalkeeper and the Hawks missed a penalty.
It was dramatic finale but the Hawks once again came up short at home.
‘We gave away a few poor goals which is unlike us,’ said Bradbury.
‘Players need to be tracked and we have to stop conceding silly goals.
‘Welling counter-attacked us with two lively wide players and caused us a few problems.
‘I felt a draw would have been a fairer result, though, because we were all over them in the second half.
‘It is frustrating because a win would have put us in the top two.’
The home side started slowly and fell behind after 14 minutes to a superbly struck Jack Jebb free-kick.
Though the free-kick was a debatable award there was no doubt about the quality of Jebb’s strike which Ryan Young could only help into the roof of the net.
However, the Hawks hit back with a deserved equaliser 10 minutes later.
A Theo Lewis shot found its way to Wes Fogden in the area and the midfielder poked the ball home.
Within 60 seconds though the Hawks found themselves 2-1 down.
‘That was a dagger through the heart,’ said the boss.
‘We switched off down our right hand side to give away the simplest of goals at a crucial time.
‘The players were still day-dreaming and before we know it we are losing again. We cannot afford to do that.’
Welling extended their lead on 63 minutes after Joe Healy netted.
In the dramatic finale, Welling had two players dismissed after Hawks substitute Matt Tubbs was tripped in the area.
Makeshift keeper Connor Dymond, however, easily saved Jason Prior’s poorly struck spot-kick.
Prior did score a couple of minutes later but it wasn’t enough for the Hawks.
Hawks: Young, Williams (Tubbs 64), Stock, Woodford, Harris, Fogden, Lewis, Prior, Tarbuck, Rose, Widdrington (Rutherford 64).
n Bognor drew 2-2 with Gloucester City at Nyewood Lane.
Ollie Pearce and Jimmy Muitt scored for the Rocks but a stoppage-time leveller got Gloucester a draw.