JIMMY O’Connor accused Harriers of failing to take responsibility during the 1-0 defeat to AFC Fyle – the team’s third successive loss.

Just a few weeks ago Harriers were flying in the National League North league and form tables and looked to have genuine title hopes.

Three damaging defeats on the spin have left those ambitions looking far less realistic, with top side Gateshead storming into a 14-point lead over the men from Aggborough.

While a play-off place still looks a reasonably assured bet, its undoubtedly a costly run for the Reds, who once again failed to find the target.

That’s now three games without a goal in open play for the once free-scoring Harriers, with assistant chief O’Connor left to lament just how quickly things in football can change. He said after the game: "We were under no illusions three weeks ago: this can always happen in football. It can slap you.

"When you're really at the top of a peak and you think it's all going well, it comes and wallops you in the face, and you take it on the chin - you have to.

"We're not happy at all. We were really angry at half time in particular because I think there was a lack of responsibility on the pitch.

"Taking responsibility is something we really pride ourselves on and there was a lack of that... that's something we won't stand for.

"You can lose football matches to anything, but today it was really disappointing. We wanted a big reaction, and it wasn't quite there."

Under new management, AFC Fylde came to Aggborough and secured an important three points of their own to keep their own play-off charge intact.

The victory moved them level on points with the hosts who remain third, Nick Haughton getting the all important goal after just five minutes, capitalising on some sleepy defending and turning the ball past Luke Simpson.

Harriers rarely threatened on the day – their best first-half chance being an Omari Sterling free-kick – but they might’ve been two down at the break. In the dying minutes of the period, Haughton forced Luke Simpson into a strong save before Emeka Obi crashed one off the bar.

Second half openings were equally slim pickings, but Haughton was a constant threat for the visitors. He almost had a second when he eased into the area and shot, but Simpson again thwarted his effort.

Simpson was arguably Harriers’ best player on the day and, with 11 minutes to play of normal time, he kept his team in it – superbly saving from Haughton once more after the Coasters hit-man dispossessed Penny on the half-way line before bearing down on the target.

His opposite number Chris Neal did have one save to make in the second half. Sam Austin drove at goal almost out of frustration with 85 minutes on the clock, but couldn’t find a way through.

Out-of-sorts Harriers now face the daunting prospect of back-to-back away trips to Spennymoor and Brackley Town.