Lancing Football Club boss John Sharman was left frustrated after his side lost to two goals in the final 20 minutes on Saturday.
Efforts from Tom Graves and Trevor McCreadie in the closing stages helped second-placed Haywards Heath Town to a 2-0 success at Culver Road.
A tough afternoon was made worse as Lancers were reduced to ten men 15 minutes from time as Lewis Finney was shown a straight red following a foul on Heath’s Alex Laing.
Lancing boss Sharman praised his side’s performance but lamented their failure to take opportunities.
He said: “I’m coming away frustrated but pleased at the same time. If we had taken our chances who knows what might have happened, as it was we were punished by a really good team.
“Elliott Bennett hit the bar and missed a good chance before they went ahead, so if one of those went in it would have been a different story.”
Following an even opening 45 minutes, the game sprung into life just prior to the hour mark. Bennett saw an angled drive well saved by James Shaw in Heath’s goal, before striking the bar just a few minutes later.
Those misses would prove costly as the visitors took the lead 20 minutes from time. Lancing keeper Tyler D’Cruz failed to collect a corner and Tom Graves was on hand to poke into an empty net.
Things got worse for Lancing five minutes later as Finney was shown a straight red card for a foul on Heath winger Laing.
McCreadie then finished off a breakaway move five minutes from time to ensure second-placed Haywards Heath ran out 2-0 victors.
Lancing make the trip to Newhaven in the league on Saturday.
LANCING: D’Cruz; E.Finney, Berry, Sharman, Fenton; Bennett, Williamson, Waterman, Caplin, Chadwick; L.Finney. Subs: Heath (Bennett), Donaldson, Fidler, Kavanagh.
Lancers are holding a question-and-answer session with former Arsenal player and manager Terry Neill and former Charlton and Chelsea defender Paul Elliott CBE on Saturday.
Both Neill and Elliott will be at Lancing’s game with Newhaven (3pm kick-off), before a question-and-answer session will take place in the clubhouse from 5.15pm.
Tickets for the game are £6 adults, £4 concessions and £2 children.
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