Worcester's hopes of Aviva Premiership survival suffered a grievous blow with an agonising 13-11 defeat against Wasps on Friday night, and Warriors boss Dean Ryan admitted: "It hurts."
Ryan's men led by five points approaching the final minute after flanker Sam Betty's second-half try looked to have secured a first league win since they toppled Wasps 12 months and 22 Premiership games ago.
But Wasps prop Jake Cooper-Woolley touched down from close range, and former Worcester fly-half Andy Goode converted with the game's final kick to edge Wasps home.
Wasps are now 10 points adrift of 11th-placed Newcastle with just five league games left, and they will travel to Tyneside on Sunday week knowing they have to win.
"We can't hide. It is painful," Ryan said. "Sport doesn't necessarily give you everything you think you deserve. It hurts.
"But I am not going to let us feel sorry for ourselves. I am going to let us get a bit angry and spend the weekend feeling a little bit tied up with it and then come back in on Monday.
"We still think we have got a chance in this. It is a pretty tight group - we just don't get the rosy bits at the end sometimes.
"We can't put distance between ourselves and sides, and therefore we are always vulnerable to something happening in games. That's just where we are.
"The world is going around feeling sorry for us, tapping us on the back and saying things must be dark, but this group is pretty good.
"The maths still say 'yes', so we are going to still give it a good crack. We are going to go up there (to Newcastle) next week and make sure we do the right thing, represent this group the right way and see."
Two of Worcester's remaining fixtures are away against Premiership title contenders Bath and Saracens, which compounds their degree of difficulty, and it is feasible that they might not recover from this latest setback.
Betty's 53rd-minute touchdown left Wasps floundering, along with penalties from full-back Chris Pennell and fly-half Ryan Lamb, yet Goode added a conversion to an earlier penalty double, and Worcester were sunk.
Wasps, Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finalists, are destined for a mid-table Premiership finish, and much of their latest league performance lacked snap and precision despite England lock Joe Launchbury making a quickfire return to domestic action following his mighty displays in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
"I am really pleased that we found a way to win, really. But in saying that, I don't think we deserved to win the game," Wasps rugby director Dai Young said.
"We defended well and I don't think we were under undue pressure, but with the ball we just looked really nervous. We were edgy, which didn't really allow us to put many phases together and put Worcester under a lot of pressure.
"Sometimes the result is more important than the performance, and that was probably a night tonight when it was.
"We are just really pleased to get a result, and hopefully it will give us a little bit of belief and confidence to be a little bit more effective with ball in hand."