GREAT Harwood boss John Hughes described Monday's game as a "nightmare" after his side lost out to a last minute goal in a 7-6 thriller.
While he admitted it was a good game for a neutral to watch, the home clash with Holker Old Boys was awful for him.
"What can you say? It is the same defence as we had at the start of the season but Holker had seven attacks and scored seven goals," said Hughes.
At the back, Anthony Green, Ryan Parr, Neil Kennedy and James Coonan had been relatively solid this season as had keeper Bobby Harris. However, although the game started off well, it finished badly for Harwood.
"We were 2-0 up inside 12 minutes," said Hughes. "And I thought this was okay. Then at half-time it was 4-3 to them. We got it back to 6-6 and then they scored in the final minute. I lost my temper after the game with a few of the players but what good will that do anybody?"
Neil Zarac opened the scoring on five minutes with James Dean adding a second. Holker then scored four before Zarac got another one back one minute before the break.
But, by 67 minutes, Holker striker Southward - a former Kendal player - got two more to make his hat-trick and the score 6-3.
However, Nev Nelson got one sandwiched in between two for Paul Mashiter - his last in the 83rd minute - bringing the score to 6-6.
But that was before Holker stole the winner in the 90th minute with a deflected effort.
"It is the highest scoring game I have been involved with but it was a disgrace," continued Hughes. "There were seven 18-year-olds out there and perhaps it shows that I need to add more experience to the side. But it is now a test for the lads to show their characters."
Harwood have a huge game at second placed Maine Road on Saturday (ko 3pm) - a team they have beaten twice this season in the league and the cup.
"We seem to do okay against the top teams - it is the bottom teams who we seem to have the problems with and I don't know why."
Then on Monday it is a home game against Blackpool Mechanics (ko 3pm). Hughes knows they need to pick up again after just one NWCL Division Two win in eight games.
"We are making it harder and harder for ourselves. We were on course for a top four place at least but now it is going to be tough."
- THE Division Two Trophy final with Colne looks like it could be at the end of the season and could be at Accrington Stanley. The date and venue, though, have yet to be confirmed.
"I don't know if this final is the problem - the lads know they are there and think they have done enough. But the priority has always been the league," added Hughes.