Lee Bullen couldn't hide his disappointment as he blasted the "direct" second half approach which he says cost Ayr all three points on Saturday.

Ayr United let a 2-0 first half lead slip at home to Queen's Park on Saturday, conceding in the last 30 seconds of the match to draw 2-2.

An Anton Dowds double had given Ayr their first half advantage before Alex Bannon headed home from a corner around the hour mark.

Ruari Paton then struck in the 95th minute to hand Queen's a point - and leave Ayr winless at home in the league since early August.

It was the manner of that equalising goal that really irked the United boss, after goalkeeper Robbie Mutch had the ball in his hands with only 30 seconds left on the clock.

After a long kick downfield, Queen's won the ball back and only five touches later had the ball in the back of the net.

The Honest Men manager told the Advertiser: “The way we defend the final goal is really disappointing. I watch back my post-match interview and I say we can’t lose a game from that position – we never lost the game but that’s the way it felt.

“I’m sure they went in the changing rooms feeling they won the game.

“It was a game of two halves, we had all the chances the first half, they were much better the second half."

The boss then blasted his side's second half approach which he says ultimately cost them maximum points.

Bullen added: “The big difference was in the first half when we had the ball we decided to pass it and play some really good stuff.

“Second half we never passed the ball at all, we never put together more than three passes.

“It must be a mentality thing, a nervous thing, like just trying to protect the 2-0 lead, it’s just really disappointing.

“At 2-0, it’s a dangerous score, because the next goal is the most important one, it can shift momentum big time – that’s what we said to them at half time.

“To lose such a poor goal from a set play, we practice them week in week out, that’s just an individual thing.

“The final goal is just so bad, we’re so out of shape – it was soul destroying again.”

And the Somerset Park boss refused to blame poor luck for letting the lead slip, saying his side need to turn their fortunes of their own accord.

Bullen said: “Football has a way of giving you such good highs but it also has a way of really kicking you in the teeth and that’s what’s happened the last two or three games.

“You’re hoping that the luck Gods go your way later on in the season and you get a couple of late winners.

“But at the moment you’ve got to make your own luck, you’ve got to be stronger than that.

“It’s just so frustrating after you put so much into the game. In the first half you’re really good, the game plan worked a treat. We go in 2-0 up and we’re comfortable.

“Second half we go out and we stop passing the ball, at all. Fair play they put us under pressure but we just need to be that bit more mentally tougher.”

Bullen added that he will now sit down with his squad to address the issues which led to the late collapse on Saturday.

He continued: “We have to keep working on our set plays first and foremost, that’s what we do every week and we will continue to do that.

“We need to go through the video side of things, going through things and pointing bits out – getting players individual feedback.

“Reasons why when we’ve been under pressure for a little bit, we win the ball back and then pausing it and say – you’ve got the option to go and pass the ball but instead you try and get it up to our strikers quicker than we did in the first half.

“What’s the thinking behind that? What’s your ideas behind that?"

He added that his players must now learn from their mistakes, rather than dwelling on them.

While on paper there remains to be some positives for Ayr to take with the recent run of results far from a disaster.

Bullen said: “We’ve lost one game in our last five, two in our last seven, we’re actually on a half decent run of form when you take the actual timings of goals out of it.

“But when you come in after the game and see the results elsewhere and there’s draws everywhere else – you think it’s not really affected us.

“But for me that makes it even worse because it’s opportunities – there was a half a dozen times last season where we had similar opportunities and we didn’t take them.

“These are all opportunities if you want to be successful you need to be a little bit more ruthless.”

For Bullen, he said his side must start converting these opportunities if they are to meet their expectations this season.

He added: “I think there also needs to be a sense of realism that we don’t have the second highest budget to finish second like we did last season – we don’t have the fourth biggest budget in this league to deal with it.

“But I do think we have a squad capable of pushing and getting into these play-offs and that’s where opportunities like this on Saturday make it so much tougher for everybody.”

Ayr will now look to get back on track on Saturday, as they face a long trip to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle at 2pm, Saturday November 11.

A win could put distance between The Honest Men and the relegation places, strengthening their play-off credentials.

A loss, and they could be sucked back in to a battle with the sides below them.