SPHINX fought back bravely away at M69 rivals Kirby Muxloe but ended up as the losing side following a nine-goal thriller.
Luke Hopkins decided to stick with the same side that beat Alvechurch 4-0 on Boxing Day but the visitors found themselves 3-0 down early in the second half on Saturday afternoon.
Nic Evangelinos pulled one back for Sphinx before Kirby went 5-1 in front with just 18 minutes remaining.
Hopkins’ side fought back with Evangelinos bagging twice to secure his hat-trick and Ashley Cain slotted home a penalty to set up a nerve-racking finish for the hosts.
A dramatic late equaliser almost came in injury-time but goalkeeper Carl O’Neil was denied by his opposite number after joining the attack and the game ended 5-4 to Kirby.
“Although we had 80 per cent of the play it never materialised in the final third and that’s what killed us – we didn’t score when on top,” said Hopkins.
“Once we got one goal another three followed and I feel that we would have been awarded another two penalties on any other day.
“For the penalty we were awarded I don’t understand why it wasn’t followed by a red card for the player who committed the foul, but that’s a whole story within itself.
“We had a chance at the end to get a point, with our keeper forcing theirs into a good save but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“We’re taking plenty of positives from the game, but we also know we have work to do defensively.”
Hopkins is hoping he can keep striker Evangelinos for this weekend’s home league fixture against Walsall Wood.
He added: “I felt for Nic (Evangelinos). He got his hat-trick and worked worked hard but we didn’t win and we won’t when we concede five.
“Hopefully we can him for another game before he returns to University and the hunt then goes on for another striker.
“We have lads who can play up there and we have the young lad Kyle Jaynes in our youth team, but I feel it’s unfair to rely on a 16-year-old to lead the line every week.
“We haven’t really had one striker all season that’s settled in and been the main choice.”
Sphinx are offering Sky Blues season ticket holders another chance to experience non-league football for free. Fans need to show their season ticket at the turnstile for this Saturday’s clash against Walsall Wood (3pm kick off).