Gary Johnson feels Bristol City's first-half performance in their 2-2 draw with Plymouth was perhaps their worst since he took charge.
The Robins found themselves 2-0 down inside 18 minutes after goals from Jamie Mackie and Rory Fallon at Ashton Gate.
But a second-half fightback saw John Akinde mark his league debut with a 63rd-minute reply before fellow substitute David Noble salvaged a point with a superb 25-yard strike two minutes from time.
"That first half was the poorest we have been for some time and probably since I've been here," said Johnson.
"If we had produced another half like that there would have been no light at the end of the tunnel.
"But all our substitutes made an impact and I have to credit the lads for giving it a real go in the second half.
"I thought there should have been more than three minutes of injury-time and if that had been the case we might well have gone on to win it."
Despite the hosts' late rescue act, Plymouth boss Paul Sturrock insisted it was not a case of two points dropped for the Pilgrims, who remain a point behind Bristol City in mid-table.
"It's easy to let a draw feel like a defeat when you have been two goals up, but I've told the lads not to think of it like that," he said.
"It was another good away result for us and we would have settled for 2-2 before the game.
"They threw on another big forward for the second half so we knew a lot of diagonal balls would be thrown at us. We panicked a bit at times and it was certainly a game of two halves.
"In the first we looked like scoring with a lot of our attacks and I was really pleased with the performance."