Gunnedah FC were left to rue some simple mistakes as they missed a golden opportunity to get the jump on Moore Creek in the battle for fourth spot on the Northern Inland Premier Division ladder.
Gunnedah entered the clash with South United on a high after upsetting North Companions the previous week but quickly found themselves on the back foot as Souths skipped out to a 3-nil lead at half-time.
"Just not doing the basic things killed us," Gunnedah coach Andy Cygan said.
The defence, which has been so good in the last few weeks, were also "all over the place" in the first half.
Already without first grade goal keeper Paul Webster, things didn't start well with stand-in keeper Tom Crumbley hampered after picking up an injury in the reserve grade game.
Souths' first goal came from a 20 yard kick. The next two were from, Cygan said, some silly play from them, playing around with the ball too much and turning it over.
He said at half-time they had a big talk about being the first to score in the second half.
But instead they served it up for Souths to score the easiest of goals.
After kicking the ball back from the half-way line to keeper Zac Crowhurst, who had moved into goal, he then kicked it straight to Souths striker Justin Kellett.
Cygan did point out that to his credit Crowhurst did pull off two or three good saves in the second half.
It made the job that bit tougher but some of the sting was taken out with Gunnedah hitting straight back through Harley Cheetham.
From there the momentum seemed to shift.
Rob Pryor finally converted the pressure Gunnedah were applying to get them back to 4-2 midway through the half.
Cheetham cut the deficit back to one not long after. His surging run down the left then gave them a golden chance to draw level with about five minutes to go but Pryor wasn't able to get a clean touch on the cross as the game finished 4-3.
Cygan took some of the blame for the first half upon himself and his decision to play Matt Daley on the wing and push Mitch Harding into the midfield.
In the second half he moved Harding back out to the wing and he made a big difference on the left.
He said they did take "a fair bit out of the second half" going into what will be "like our own little grand final" against Moore Creek this Saturday.
They haven't beaten the Mountain Goats, who were thrashed 10-nil by Oxley Vale Attunga, in three attempts but Cygan believes if they play anything like they had done in the previous weeks they should be able to get the result.
It was also a tough day for reserve grade going down 6-1.