TWO great goals and a "stupid" penalty, all in the space of 19 minutes, consigned Tranmere Rovers to their first defeat in six games at Southampton, admitted caretaker boss Les Parry.
"The two (goals) they scored either side of the penalty will be contenders for goal of the month on the television," he said.
"But the penalty was plain stupid.
"For some unknown reason Marlon Broomes handles the ball - there was absolutely no need to - and that killed us.
"It was a game we weren’t expected to get anything from, but we came in at half-time disappointed we weren't leading," he said.
"I thought we were the better side in the first half and it looked like a game we weren't going to lose and hopefully we were going to nick a win.
"We had a few half chances, one from a free kick and Welshy (John Welsh) had three from open play.
“It doesn’t sound a lot, but it was more than they had.
“We edged the first half, without dominating it, and at half-time I couldn’t see us losing.
“I thought that if we stayed compact, we might score and get something from the game.”
"We were playing a top side in Southampton who, but for their ten point penalty deduction, would be in a play-off position," Parry pointed out.
"Two of their goals were quality, especially the third by Rickie Lambert, who is the best striker in League One by a country mile.
"You can see why Southampton paid £1 million for him."
Parry wasn't happy about the free kick awaqrd that led to Southampton's third goal.
"It was a disputed free-kick. I didn't think it was a foul in the first place - the two players (Craig Curran and Dan Harding) accidentally clashed heads and got up again.
"Lambert's finish was magnificent. He's clearly been practising free kicks from distance and I'm not sure Luke Daniels saw it once it left his boot.
“Seasons are built on home form and it’s crucial we get results at Prenton Park to lift us out of the relegation zone.
“You play away hoping to get something and play at home expecting to win, and that’s going to be the story for us between now and the end of the season.”