STRATFORD Town boss Paul Davis blamed his players for failing to take responsibility after throwing away victory against Hitchin Town in midweek.
Town looked set for only their second win in 11 games when they led 2-0 at half-time and then 3-2 at the Arden Garages Stadium going into the third minute of injury time.
But a needlessly given away free kick led to a Canaries equaliser and left Davis stunned.
“Obviously when you’re 2-0 down you’ve got nothing to lose so Hitchin piled forward and we just buckled,” said Davis.
“The players have got to take responsibility on the pitch and they’ve got to deal with situations better.
“I said to the players at half-time that the worst case scenario is for the game to finish 2-0 so just manage it , take the sting out of it and do what a proper football team should do but we didn’t do that.”
He added: “When the players put themselves into a position at 2-0 and again at 3-2 where they can win the game they have to do as we’ve asked them to see it out, but because they didn’t do that we have ended up with one point instead of three.”
The 3-3 draw leaves Town fourth from bottom in Southern League Premier Division Central, six clear of both Alvechurch, who have five games in hand, and St Ives Town, who have two in hand.
He will look for a response on Saturday when they head to Biggleswade Town.
Town’s squad continues to evolve, with wide player Robbie Thompson-Brown, who has rejoined from Stafford Rangers, and striker David Pitt and midfielder Paul Douglas from Alvechurch on board.
But Lewis Wilson has departed to join Banbury United and Kai Woollard-Innocent has returned to QPR after his loan.
Town had battled to a 2-0 lead at half-time on Tuesday and then 3-2 with new signing Leam Howards’ first goal for the club, only for Hitchin to grab a stoppage-time equaliser.
Town put themselves in the perfect position to record a first home victory since November after their first-half endeavours.
Dan Vann took just 90 seconds to put Stratford ahead, heading home from Kynan Isaac’s corner for his first goal for Town, and Javia Roberts made it 2-0 with his debut goal after a neat one-two with Dan Sweeney just before the break.
Hitchin, though, battled back to level matters by the 66th minute after Steve Cawley scrambled home the first and Jacob Hutchinson slotted past keeper James Pardington.
Former Redditch and Banbury forward Howards, who has joined from Kidlington, restored Stratford’s lead on 73 minutes after collecting Sweeney’s flick, moments after coming on as a sub.
But, when Ben Walster’s free-kick smashed against the post three minutes into stoppage time, Hutchinson pounced to make it 3-3.
Davis felt his side deserved a point after they went down 1-0 at Kings Langley on Saturday.
The manager admitted Town had been on the back foot in the first 45 minutes and trailed to Will Hoskins’ goal, but were much-improved in the second half.
Hoskins scored in the 36th minute when he fired past keeper James Pardington after Callum Adebiyi headed a Jordan Parkes free kick across goal.
Stratford had their chances after the break, with Roberts shooting into the side-netting when team-mate Sweeney was well placed and then new signing Howards headed wide from a wonderful position from Reece Flanagan’s cross.