There was a depressingly familiar ring to Wakehurst’s 2-1 NIFL Championship Two defeat at the hands of PSNI on Saturday.
Of the Ballymena side’s 14 league defeats this term, no fewer than eight of them of them have come by a single goal margin.
Rather than a string of heavy defeats that you might expect from a club marooned at the foot of the league table, it’s suggestive that Wakehurst have come up just short of being competitive in this division, rather than having been totally out of their depth.
“Losing by the odd goal certainly seems to have been an annoying habit we’ve developed this season,” admitted interim manager Dougie Stevenson.
The opening half hour was a tale of two missed penalties. Firstly Wakehurst were awarded a spot kick after Conor Gregg was brought down but Kurtis McCartney - who retained the penalty-taking duties after scoring from the spot in Wakehurst’s last game - saw his effort kept out by the keeper.
Ten minutes later the same thing happened at the other end as Wakehurst’s teenage keeper dived to his left to brilliantly keep out former Ballymena United striker Shane Dolan’s penalty for PSNI.
That gave Wakehurst a lift and from McCartney’s through ball, Peter Adams took a touch before drilling a shot past the keeper.
However, the title-chasing police side stepped up the pressure in the second half and two PSNI goals in the second half condemned Wakehurst to another defeat.
With just eight games remaining, Wakehurst are some 17 points adrift of 12th place, the last remaining team who will survive relegation as the league format changes next season.
This Saturday, Wakehurst travel to west Belfast to take on Sport & Leisure Swifts.
Wakehurst: Armstrong, Millar, Swan, Colville, Price, Allen, Young, Laughlin, McCartney, Adams, Gregg. Subs: Alexander, Bradley, J Stevenson, D Stevenson.