"IT'S NO GOOD being excellent from Monday to Friday – it's three o'clock on a Saturday that counts," said manager Alan Knill after Torquay United had been hauled back and then overtaken by Wycombe Wanderers' determined second-half display at Adams Park.
When the Gulls led 2-1 at half-time, care of goals by Ade Azeez and fit-again defender Krystian Pearce, a third successive defeat looked like the last thing on the cards.
United were good value for that lead. Wycombe looked nothing special. But something changed at half-time.
Wycombe responded to a fair old rollicking from Gareth Ainsworth and came out in an altogether higher gear than they went in.
Knill did his best to ready his men for what they all knew what must be coming.
But Wycombe wiped out United's lead within seven minutes of the restart, and 'won' the second half with two headers by Paris Cowan-Hall to claim all three points.
That won't come as a surprise to Plymouth Argyle fans.
Ex-Woking forward Cowan-Hall spent an often frustrating season at Home Park before returning to the Home Counties and signing for Wycombe in the summer.
But, although he mostly played as a right winger for Argyle, Pilgrims supporters will attest to the spring in his heels and his aerial ability.
Twice he punished slack marking in United's defence, once from a cross and then from a corner in the 76th minute, to head those second-half goals. It was in contrast to the first half.
Azeez, who nearly beat the entire Wycombe defence on his own in one 22nd minute run, scored his second goal on loan from Charlton five minutes later.
Jordan Chapell and Kevin Nicholson combined on the left, Nicholson went for a low cross rather than an aerial one and Azeez was at the far post to score with a firm right-foot shot...1-0.
It was only the second time this season that United had taken the lead – but they gave it up within a minute.
Pearce will remember his second week of October 2013 for a long time.
Cleared to play after fears that he might have a career-threatening blood condition, he was beaten by ex-United striker Jo Kuffour in the 28th minute.
Pearce was angry, claiming that Kuffour appeared to handle the ball, but the alert Kuffour took full advantage to equalise from ten yards out...1-1.
Then, at the other end, Pearce was aghast at missing a great heading chance on the Nicholson's right-wing corner.
But in the 37th minute Chapell forced another corner, skipper Lee Mansell took it from the left and Pearce cheered himself – and United – up by powering home a far-post header off a defender and the underside of the bar...2-1.
At the interval United fans must have been optimistic of seeing a second away win this season, but Cowan-Hall's equalising header in the 52nd minute was all the inspiration the home team needed.
Wanderers defender Sam Wood did clear off his line twice, from Pearce and Chapell, but United found themselves forced back for most of the second half.
Martin Rice pulled out two outstanding close-range saves from Anthony Stewart and sub Jon-Paul Pittman at 2-2, but he was powerless to stop Cowan-Hall's looping header which won the match from a Billy Knott corner in the 76th minute.
It was the 15th goal that United have conceded in the last six matches.
Two minutes earlier Knill had sent on new loanee Jak McCourt for his League debut.
Performances off the bench can sometimes be deceptive, but the Leicester City teenager was eager to get on the ball and looked as if he could use it too.
"It's pretty to take, that," said a visibly frustrated Knill.
"We put ourselves in a strong position. We scored two goals away from home, and when you do that, you should be winning – and definitely not losing.
"We can't keep conceding goals as we are, especially the manner that we are.
"At the moment we are suffering a bit, especially defensively, and we can't wait to get everybody back fit and available."
Wycombe Wanderers (4-1-3-2): Ingram; Arnold, Hause, Stewart, Wood; Scowen; Knott, Lewis, Bloomfield (Kretzschmar 74); Cowan-Hall (Spring 80), Kuffour (Pittman 61); subs not used – Horlock (gk), McCoy, Morias, Fletcher.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Rice; Tonge, Pearce, Cruise, Nicholson; Azeez, Mansell (Cameron 89), Lathrope (Craig 82), Chapell; Benyon (McCourt 74), Hawley; subs not used – Poke (gk), McKenzie, Sullivan, Hutchings.
Booked: Lathrope (foul 58), Pearce (throwing ball away 64).
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).
Statistics: Fouls – Wycombe 10, United 14; Offsides – Wycombe 1, United 2; Corners – Wycombe 6, United 5; Shots/Headers On Target – Wycombe 6, United 6; Off Target – Wycombe 5, United 6; Hit Woodwork – None.