“A killer result” was Kingstonian manager Alan Dowson’s angry verdict after a late collapse at Thamesmead Town denied his team a vital win.
But Ks still lie fourth in the Ryman Premier League table, and Saturday's 2-2 draw need not prove fatal to promotion hopes.
Defensive frailties need mending, however - 2-0 up with 10 minutes remaining, Ks looked in control, if not entirely comfortable, before the Ryman One North champions grabbed a point through Shamir Mullings and Danny Phillips.
Dowson was generous in defeat, focusing more on his own side’s defensive problems than Mead’s aggressive tactics.
“We put a back five in there to make sure [the opposition] don’t score a goal,” he said.
“But they’ve not had a good game… Two goals should be enough to win it. I’ve got to do something about it.
"I keep on saying that but we can’t keep conceding fours and threes and twos… it’s happened every single week for the past six weeks.”
Thamesmead were fourth from bottom, had lost five in a row and survive on crowds of less than 100.
Sponsorship funds are not easy to find in their forgotten patch of south-east London, an ambitious 1960s new town, which has spent a generation in decline.
Mead received due reward for a display of brutal persistence.
They had chased the match with a rough, collective intensity more associated with NFL than non-League soccer, their players hunting territory in packs and screaming for every decision.
Mullings, in particular, was a frightening presence and was lucky not to be red-carded for kicking out at Sean Ray, who battled manfully amidst the high balls and dirty tricks.
It could all have been so much easier. Before the fiery ending, Josh Casey had calmly given Ks an early lead, lashing in a fine left-foot finish from the corner of the box.
Shortly after half-time, Ryan Moss made it two, dinking the ball intelligently past Sam Mott after being put clean through.
There followed a series of wonderful opportunities to run up a big score, with two strikes cleared off the line.
Slowly Thamesmead realised there was life left in the game. A penalty miss should have served as a warning to Ks before two chances from direct forward play got Mead on level terms.
There was still time for Andre McCollin to waste another on-on-one for Ks.
Moss was then hauled down in the box by two Mead defenders in the final minute, but the referee inexplicably pointed for a corner.
Ks travel to East Thurrock United on Tuesday night before hosting Billericay Town next Saturday.