Wasps Netball suffered their second loss by a one-goal margin in a week with a heartbreaking 50-49 defeat against Manchester Thunder.
Mel Mansfield’s side trailed after the first-quarter but fought back and turned the game on its head by half-time.
The league leaders Thunder came storming back and played a near-perfect final-quarter to pip Wasps to all three points and extend their advantage at the top of the table.
Mansfield said: “It’s a tough loss to take but we have to look at the positives from the game and we showed we can build a lead against one of the strongest teams in the league.
“Defensively we were excellent and shut down their attack for long periods of time but we’re making errors at key times.
“We need to look at what happened in the last quarter and focus on how we close out games.
“The aim is always to make top four and we’re still on track to do that.
“We’ve played two high-intensity games in a week, which have both had the feeling of a semi-final, and that can only be good experience.”
The hosts were fast out of the blocks and first on the scoreboard, with Joyce Mvula finding early rhythm in the shooting circle.
Wasps were forced to be patient in creating opportunities in the opening stages, with Thunder consistently cutting off passing lanes.
Thunder forced the first turnover of the game and turned it into two quickfire goals to build a three-goal lead after a frantic opening ten minutes.
The home side started to press their advantage and soon led by six, but Rachel Dunn remained cool under pressure to keep Wasps in the game as the first-quarter came to a close.
Dunn missed a couple of shots to start the second-quarter but soon rediscovered her form, as Wasps started to rein in the Thunder lead.
Goal Attack Katie Harris also found her rhythm and soon Wasps were back level – erasing the first-quarter deficit.
Wasps were fast to every ball and another goal from Rachel Dunn on the buzzer gave the Black and Golds a one-goal advantage after two quarters, their first lead of the game.
The visitors carried their momentum to start the third-quarter and pushed out to a five-goal lead thanks to some clinical shooting.
Thunder were able to slow Wasps down with a flying interception from Amy Carter sparking a good run for the hosts.
With the third-quarter winding down, both sides traded turnovers but Wasps came out on top in the exchanges and re-established their foothold.
Thunder came firing back and Kathryn Turner netted with five minutes to play to bring the home side level.
The hosts pressed on and soon led by three – Wasps looked to bring the score level but ran out of time, with Thunder coming away 50-49 victors.
Wasps Netball’s next fixture will see them take on London Pulse at Ricoh Arena on Sunday 31 March (4pm centre-pass).
Wasps starting seven: GK Hannah Knights; GD Fran Williams; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Bongi Msomi; GA Katie Harris; GS Rachel Dunn
Used substitutes: Chloe Essam, Sam May.
Thunder starting seven: GK Almond; GD Dovey; WD Malcolm; C O’Hanlon; WA Leota; GA Cardwell; GS Mvula