Michael Collins thought Oxford United should have done more to hold on for a point as they conceded a late goal to lose 2-1 at Mansfield Town.
The misfiring visitors were handed a lifeline 11 minutes from time, when Danny Hylton won and converted a penalty to make it 1-1.
Buoyed by the goal, United went in search of a winner, but were instead stung by Adam Murray’s 88th-minute strike.
For Collins, it was a point squandered.
He said: “I just believe through experience that sometimes when you’re away from home and not playing your best, when you’ve got a point in your hand with five minutes to go it’s a case of shutting up shop.
“That’s what we should’ve done, but there was a bit of inexperience and their lad sneaks in. All we can do is learn from it.”
United came into the game in a high after winning at League One side Bristol City in the Capital One Cup four days earlier.
Collins was well aware the game at Field Mill was going to be in stark contrast, but was disappointed the side were unable to find a way to play their game.
The midfielder said: “We played some really good football (at Bristol City), but League Two doesn’t allow you to do that.
“It’s an unforgiving league and there are some horrific games to be battled out.
“This was one of them and unfortunately we’ve come out second best.”
He added: “The gaffer will continue to tell us to play in the right way and we have to believe it will come, starting Tuesday (at Morecambe).”
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