Adam Hinshelwood took full responsibility after Worthing Football Club were edged out in a seven-goal thriller at Bostik League Premier Division play-off chasers Hendon on Saturday.
Worthing twice trailed by two goals and were eventually beaten 4-3 as Ashley Nathaniel-George struck in second half stoppage-time to snatch a dramatic win for fourth-placed Hendon.
The home side got off to a flying start and led 2-0 inside 15 minutes, before going on to open up 3-1 advantage on the hour.
Worthing, who secured their Bostik League Premier Division status following a home win over Merstham last time out, fought back superbly with goals from substitute Ben Pope and recent recruit George Barker as they drew level at 3-3.
Nathaniel-George would win it for Hendon late on but Hinshelwood took full responsibility.
He said: “I think it’s a sign of how far we’ve come as a team that we are disappointed to come away from Hendon having not picked up anything.
“I take full responsibility for the defeat, maybe I was a bit naive going for the win after we got it back to 3-3.
“We had six attacking players on at the end as we went in search of victory, looking back we should have been happy with what we had and seen it out.
“I’m learning all the time as a manager as are the players and it’s another performance we can take positives from.
“George (Bentley) stepped up in the absence of Lucas (Covolan) again in goal, while Joseph (Clarke) impressed on his own in midfield.
“We’re improving all the time and performances like this will stand us in good stead for next season.”
Goalkeeper Covolan missed out through illness for the second game in succession and 17-year-old Bentley again deputised in the Brazilian’s absence.
Midfielder Clarke was adjudged to have felled a Hendon player in the area, with a penalty awarded after seven minutes. League top-scorer Niko Muir slammed the penalty home to fire the home side ahead.
Zak Joseph added a second to put Hendon in command eight minutes later.
A thrilling opening was then complete as Worthing forward Reece Meekums pulled one back less than a minute later.
Hendon restored their two-goal advantage 12 minutes after the restart to seize command once again.
Substitute Pope netted for the second match in succession 11 minutes from time, then Barker got Worthing level to set-up a thrilling final ten minutes.
Worthing pushed men forward in search of a winner but Hendon stole all three points in second half stoppage-time when Nathaniel-George netted.
WORTHING: Bentley; Young, Racine, Rents; Parsons, Clarke, Rance; Starkey, Meekums, Pamment; G.Barker. Subs: Pope (Rance, 73), Newton (Pamment, 73), Sisimayi, Budd, Sparks.