Linfield manager David Healy has bemoaned his side's lack of consistency in the title race after their 3-1 loss to Larne at Inver Park on Tuesday night.
The Blues took the lead through a second minute Jordan Stewart strike, but were pegged back by Mark Randall's quickfire equaliser, before David McDaid and Harry Flowers sealed the victory.
The result denied Linfield the chance to go top of the Danske Bank Premiership, instead having to watch as rivals Glentoran ascended to the summit with a 4-0 win over Glenavon.
There was also an added frustration for Healy, whose side were unable to back up their own 8-1 drubbing of Glenavon at Windsor Park on Saturday with another victory.
That left the head coach struggling for an explanation as to why the team are seemingly struggling to string together a run of displays back-to-back.
"Frustrating. At the minute it seems as if we're taking one step forward and two steps back, sometimes three steps back," was the former Northern Ireland international's verdict.
"We were beaten by the better team which, again, is disappointing because I feel whatever team we put out on the pitch should be more competitive than what we were (on Tuesday). So really disappointing. The players are disappointed too.
"We've got to do something about it as a group, and me as the manager and leader of the players in the dressing room. We need to make sure our performances improve.
"We shouldn't be able to go from the result and performance from Saturday to that result and performance. That's so inconsistent. That's where we are at the minute."
With this looking like the most open title race in recent memory, with just six points separating the top five teams with 11 games left to play, Linfield are still firmly in the equation in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Healy's side are third in the table, two points behind bitter rivals Glentoran, however they are still well-placed with a game in hand that could see them go top.
That's no consolation for the ex-striker, however, who has urged his players to seize the initiative and get on a run of form to potentially pull away from the pack.
"We've inconsistently dropped points. But we've done it before after results like this, we've bounced back, so it's important we bounce back. There's still a lot of points (to play for) and plenty of twists and turns," stressed Healy.
"The disappointing thing is we were backed by a big Linfield crowd tonight, a lot of whom left early and rightly so in my eyes. As a manager, I take full responsibility. We were caught short and beaten by a better team."
Although they are 12 points off the top of the table, Tiernan Lynch's Larne are now almost assured of their spot in the top-six when the league splits after back-to-back wins over the Glens and Blues.
The Inver Park side are even chasing down Cliftonville in fifth, with only six points separating the teams, and Healy hasn't ruled out the possibility of them making a dramatic late surge for the title.
"It would be remiss not to throw Larne in the mix. That's two big results for them over the last three, four days," admitted the Linfield chief.