STOP shooting yourselves in the foot was the message from York City boss Nigel Worthington in the wake of three stoppage-time woundings.
As the Minstermen readied themselves for a crunching collision against Cambridge United at Bootham Crescent tonight, Worthington said it was time to cut out the mistakes that have led to his charges conceding not one, not two, but three goals in the dying embers of their opening trio of fixtures.
First-day foes Tranmere sneaked a late leveller for a share of League Two spoils on the first day of the season, followed by Doncaster Rovers sneaking a last-minute winner in the Capital One Cup at Bootham Crescent, which was followed by another home heart-shaker when Northampton were let off the hook to dash hopes of a maximum return.
The second share-all was ensured when City's defensive wall shuffled out of position enough for a Marc Richards free-kick to curl into the rigging of stricken goalkeeper Jason Mooney's net.
The galling fact for Worthington was neither Tranmere or Northampton - indeed not even Doncaster from a higher division - had rolled over his team to merit an equal half of the points.
Said Worthington: "Someone like Steven Gerrard will tell you from last season that it's the team that makes the least mistakes usually succeeds in football.
"For us, if we had not have made those mistakes in the last minutes (in both League games) we maybe would have won them.
"We put ourselves in very good positions - performance-wise and commitment I cannot fault the players - but through a little bit of naivety or sloppiness, it has cost us four points.
"To have just two points after playing well and neither opponent dominating us is very disappointing - no doubt about that. Four points dropped could go a long way to when we get to the end of the season.
"It is those little pieces which make up the bigger picture that we have to tighten up on now."
The supremely annoying example of a gaffe was the Cobblers' unlikely point-saver. He said that between goalkeeper Mooney setting up his six-strong wall and the free-kick being taken, the defensive line shuffled across a few feet which opened the space for the shot to be whipped in.
"That's people not doing their jobs," he said. "That's when we need leaders on the pitch."
Leadership and defiance will be needed against Cambridge at the Crescent tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.
The U's made the return to the 92-club after play-off success at Wembley and they still had that momentum of a promotion-winning team, said Worthington.
"They are a big side and we will have to compete with them," said the City boss. "We have done our homework on them, but we have got to be prepared to do battle."
With no fresh injury worries - winger Josh Carson is still on his way back after knee surgery while striker Ryan Jarvis is about a week away off a return training from his ankle rap that forced him to miss the visit of Northampton - City are likely to name the same line-up, though the City boss was giving nothing away.
However, he was pleased by Saturday's 20-minute outing from the bench of last season's top predator, Wes Fletcher.
Said Worthington: "Wes getting that time in play was good for him and good for us. There were a few signs on Saturday where he showed what a good player he can be for us. It will help to have brought him brought up to speed."
Visitors Cambridge opened the return to League Two with an opening 1-0 win over Plymouth with local lad Josh Coulson on target.
But since then they have lost 3-1 at Birmingham in the Capital Cup and 2-1 at basement title favourites Portsmouth on Saturday when Kwesi Appiah was the marksman.