We succumbed to a 4-2 defeat at AFC Wimbledon on a bad day in Sky Bet League Two.
The result was made all the more frustrating after Macaulay Langstaff and Aaron Nemane had pulled us back from 2-0 down after a Jake Reeves penalty and an Ali Al Hamadi finish had sent us into the break behind.
But just as we were looking the more likely to side to go on to win it, another penalty allowed Reeves to notch his second before a defensive mix-up led to Al Hamadi doing the same in injury time.
Luke Williams was forced into a change in defence as the suspended Aden Baldwin made way for Connell Rawlinson.
The only other alteration to the team came down the left as Jodi Jones was favoured to Will Randall, who took his place on the bench alongside the fit-again Adam Chicksen.
We created the first decent opening of the game when, on eight minutes, Dan Crowley released Aaron Nemane in typical style and watched on as the latter’s low cross flashed beyond Macaulay Langstaff and David McGoldrick in the middle.
Our next chance went to Jones after Jim O’Brien had been felled in a dangerous shooting position, but the Malta international couldn’t beat the wall.
For all our early control, though, clear-cut chances were proving hard to come by – and we were stunned on 28 minutes when, moments after Slocombe had made an excellent save from Al Hamadi, Bostock was adjudged to have tripped his man in the area, allowing Reeves to score from the spot.
That proved to be the catalyst for a poor remainder of the first half, with Jones relieved to see Al Hamadi’s effort diverted narrowly wide of the post after he had conceded possession shortly after the restart.
But there was to be no denying the Iraq international on 41 minutes as he pounced on Bostock’s underhit pass to Brindley, riding the defender’s weak challenge and rounding Slocombe to score.
We were struggling to stem the Dons’ flow and could have been three behind two minutes later when Connor Lemonheigh-Evans played Al Hamadi into the area, only for Slocombe to deny him with a good save.
And we had our keeper to thank again in injury time as, shortly after Langstaff had headed Crowley’s cross over with his only sniff of the half, Slocombe made an excellent save with his foot to keep Josh Davison’s low effort out.
A big improvement was required after the break and we came out with the bit between our teeth, Nemane working his way into the area and seeing his cross evade Langstaff. The forward looked likely to make contact with his header six yards out but the ball evaded him completely, leaving his claims of a push to fall on deaf ears.
We saw more penalty appeals waved away shortly afterwards as Currie stooped to control Jones’ cross – but our claims of handball were rejected by the officials.
Our control of the half continued as the hour mark approached, Bostock brilliantly releasing Langstaff only for a Dons defender to make a superb recovering challenge.
But our number nine wasn’t to be denied much longer as he hauled us back into the game with a lovely finish after Crowley had won possession high up the pitch and slid him into the area.
Sam Austin replaced O’Brien in the aftermath and both sides went close to scoring within seconds of the restart, Tilley’s shot being blocked inside the area before we saw an effort of our own diverted wide.
Hearts were in mouths again on 66 minutes as Davinson’s low, left-footed effort flashed just wide of the far post.
But it was the Wimbledon goal that was next to be breached as a quickly-taken corner paid dividends, Jones knocking the ball to Langstaff whose deep cross was brilliantly controlled and finished by Nemane in front of the jubilant away end.
Lewis Macari replaced Rawlinson during a lengthy stoppage as a Wimbledon player received treatment, but it did nothing to stop our flow as we came agonisingly close to the third goal as Austin brilliantly worked a cross which was volleyed goalwards by Langstaff. Alex Bass made an incredible reaction save to push the ball over.
A much more comfortable save was to follow for the Dons keeper as another short corner allowed Jones to cut into the area from the left before failing to properly connect with his right-footed shot.
It looked like only one side was going to go on to win it – but we shot ourselves in the foot on 84 minutes, cheaply conceding a corner and then a penalty from the subsequent delivery. Reeves made no mistake once again.
Williams responded with a triple sub as Chicksen, Dan Gosling and Junior Morias replaced Jones, Bostock and McGoldrick.
We were given hope when eight minutes of added time were indicated – but they were soon extinguished after a horrible mix-up between Austin and Brindley saw a comfortable-looking situation descend into chaos as Al Hamadi raced away to put the game to bed.
STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Rawlinson (Macari 74'), Brindley; Jones (Chicksen 87'), Nemane; Bostock (Gosling 87'), O'Brien (Austin 63'), McGoldrick (Morias 87'), Crowley; Langstaff
SUBS: Stone, Randall
BOOKINGS: Jones 45+4'
ATTENDANCE: 8,479 (1,200)