Fareham missed the chance to go second in National League conference west after they were beaten 2-1 at Guildford on Sunday.
It ends their five-match unbeaten streak and sees them slip to fourth in the table on goal difference behind the University of Exeter.
A win would have lifted Fareham to second, as Team Bath Bucanneers only drew.
Those results confirmed Cardiff & Met as champions of the division.
Fareham were 2-0 down at half-time and only got on the scoresheet in the dying seconds of the game.
Performance director Ben Barnes said the loss was all the more disappointing given how well the team have been playing since the turn of the year.
He admitted it was ‘the worst’ they have played all season and described the result as ‘a chastening experience.’
The way they started the match was a major source of disappointment for Barnes.
‘We gave ourselves too much to do with a complacent first-half performance,’ he said.
‘I don’t think we deserved anything from it because we didn’t play well enough.’
Barnes pointed to mistakes from the team as the reason for the defeat.
He felt it was a contrast to recent weeks when they team have played so well.
Guildford were not made to work hard for their goals.
Barnes added: ‘There were far too many unforced errors and gifting of possession in the first half, which is uncharacteristic considering how well we’ve performed over the last few weeks.
‘Days like this remind you that you can’t take things for granted, you have to play well to earn points in this league.’
Sam Plater gave Guildford the lead from a penalty corner after 11 minutes, which was then doubled by Zachary Sherwani just before half-time after intercepting a stray pass.
Josh Godfrey and Alex Boxall both had opportunities but couldn’t convert.
It was only when the hosts were down to nine men with five minutes remaining that Fareham found a breakthrough.
Rob Wilson’s cross from the right was tipped in with the reverse stick by Godfrey in literally the last second of the game.
However, Barnes is confident they can still finish second and reach the 30-point mark – something the club have not done since entering the National League.
To reach that landmark they need to win one of their remaining two fixtures, against Indian Gymkhana and Cardiff & Met.