Harry Redknapp was left to reflect on the most frustrating day of the season so far as a late goal handed Stoke victory at the Lane on Saturday.
Glenn Whelan curled into the top corner in the 86th minute of a match we'd dominated until the final 10 minutes, when Aaron Lennon departed with an ankle injury and we were left with 10 men having made all three substitutions.
It could have been all over in the first half as Stoke's inspired goalkeeper Steve Simonsen kept out Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch, James Beattie somehow cleared Crouch's header off the line and Niko Kranjcar's piledriver cannoned back off the post.
Simonsen - who came in at the last minute after Thomas Sorensen withdrew through illness - was there to deny Robbie Keane and Crouch in the second half and the departure of Lennon finally opened up the space for Whelan to grab the winner.
Lennon wasn't the only player to go off through injury - Jonathan Woodgate was forced off in the 14th minute with concussion after a clash of heads with Beattie. He was replaced by Michael Dawson.
Naturally disappointed, Harry reflected: "We had so many chances, efforts cleared off the line, we hit the post, it just wouldn't go in.
"Their goalkeeper had a great day as well.
"We went down to 10 men late on because I'd made all my substitutions and Aaron Lennon got a knock and couldn't continue.
"In the last 15 minutes you're sitting there with 10 men thinking 'perhaps we'll take a point today' because it becomes very difficult and we just got caught with what must have been their only shot at goal, a great finish from the lad.
"The longer you're there you think 'it's not just going to go in' and then they hit us with a sucker punch. I've seen it so many times over the years.
"Stoke worked hard and made it difficult for us but I still felt we had enough of the game to win comfortably. That's how it goes."
Harry was particularly disappointed for Woodgate, who was making his first start of the season after recovering from a groin injury.
"It's a shame," said Harry. "Ledley King wasn't fit, he's had a bit of a virus this week and it was a close call between Jonathan and Michael, it was a difficult decision.
"I went with Woody, he had to go off but Michael came on and did a great job for us, as usual."