Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath was frustrated as a second half fightback proved in vain in a 2-1 defeat at Southport.
The Reds conceded after 80 seconds and were 2-0 down at half-time, before Reece Styche gave them hope with a 54th minute penalty after Richard Peniket was tripped.
The Reds had chances to level in an improved second period. Peniket’s shot was saved after a strong run, Jordan Sinnott’s blistering free-kick was tipped over and Tom Allan’s powerful header was superbly saved late on.
Heath said: “It’s always difficult when you come to a place like this and give them two goals in the first half.
“It’s just frustrating after good games against Stockport and Boston, when we played on the front foot.
“Today we’ve reverted back to the problems we’ve had before — we were happy to just drop off them.
“If you’re going to do that at any level you’re going to have problems. l don’t think they [Southport] created many chances, even in the first half.
“There was no real pressure on the ball — and that was the biggest disappointment on top of the two goals.
“In the second half we started to do what we did at Boston — put pressure on people. When we got the goal they were starting to struggle, but you can’t just play for 45 minutes in any game.”
Alfreton are 13th in National League North.