Colchester United manager Joe Dunne admitted that his side were their own worst enemies following their 2-0 defeat at Notts County.
Ronan Murray gave the Magpies a fifth-minute leader when he pounced on Tom Eastman's hesitation to score.
And Haydn Hollis was gifted the freedom of the Colchester penalty area to score the hosts' second goal, heading in Alan Sheehan's free-kick.
The U's had plenty of chances to score in the first half, with Freddie Sears striking the inside of a post.
But Colchester fell to defeat, which leaves them three points above the relegation zone with seven games remaining. Dunne said: “The result is a negative but we have to take responsibility for the way we’ve aided teams, in the last few games.
“We can control a lot of things but we have to take responsibility individually and collectively for how games start.
“Once again, we gifted them a start but after that, we dominated the first half.
“I think we had as many shots, we hit the woodwork twice and we’re a hard luck story at the moment.
“Had we scored, we would have gone on and scored a lot more and we had some good opportunities.
“We’re creating lots of chances but unfortunately, the goals in the first minute and last minute of the first half when people should know better.
“That’s what is aiding to what is a poor run of results at the moment but we have to keep believing."
See Monday's Daily Gazette for five pages of coverage of the U's game at Notts County.