Cammy Bell admits a lack of clinical finishing had “come back to bite” Dundee United against Dumbarton at Tannadice on Saturday.
The Tangerines had started against the Sons in the tea-time fixture knowing that after Falkirk had drawn earlier against Queen of the South a win would have taken them up into second place.
Instead, despite creating a whole host of chances in the early stages of the game, they ultimately had to come from behind to salvage a draw, meaning that no matter what they do against Morton next week, Falkirk can secure second if they win at Dumbarton.
Keeper Bell said: “It’s another opportunity missed. I think there have been too many of them this season.
“We’ve had chances to go second and first earlier in the campaign but we just didn’t take them.
“It’s disappointing but we just have to pick ourselves up for Morton next weekend and try to get back to winning ways.
“It shouldn’t have put any extra pressure on anyone knowing that Falkirk had drawn earlier in the day.
“I didn’t for me personally but I can only speak for myself.
“It shouldn’t be seen as pressure. Instead, you should look upon it as an opportunity to enjoy.
“Someone gifted us the chance to go second and we should be good enough to take it especially here at Tannadice.
“Our home record has been good this season so it’s disappointing overall because we started the game really well.
“We played some good stuff and, to be honest, that’s what can happen when you don’t take your chances.
“I feel as though we need to hit the target a bit more.
“The opportunities were there and we’re not even hitting the target.
“It can hurt you and it’s come back to bite us.”
United started brightly and on another day, striker Simon Murray could have put the game beyond Dumbarton but he failed to take the gilt-edged chances.
Instead, it was that man again, Tony Andreu, who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when he bulleted a header from a Blair Spittal corner high past Dumbarton goalie Alan Martin.
Murray had yet another opportunity when Thomas Mikkelsen sent an inviting cross in from the right but Martin pulled off a superb diving save to keep out his header.
And United were left ruing that missed chance in the 35th minute when Dumbarton levelled with Sons front man Robert Thomson – who started his career at Tannadice – netting with a point-blank header.
Dumbarton then took the lead in the 65th minute. Sam Stanton pounced on a poor pass and drove forward before playing the ball out right to Vaughan with the striker producing a superb finish over United keeper Cammy Bell from a tight angle.
United equalised in the 79th minute when sub Ali Coote hit a shot that Martin could only parry with Mikkelsen on hand to fire the rebound home.
Bell admitted that not only are United failing to take their chances up front, they are making costly mistakes at the back.
He added: “It can take a lot of the pressure off the team at the back if the chances are taken at the other end.
“In the second-half, I felt as though we lost our way for 15 or 20 minutes.
“They got their goal during that period as well and it was a slack again from us defensively.
“Errors are costing us at the moment as well as not taking our chances.”
Meanwhile, on-loan Raith striker Vaughan admitted that when he was farmed out, he never thought his parent club would find themselves in danger of relegation.
He said: “It’s been a very difficult time for me and I’m still at Raith next season so hopefully they can get themselves out of the mess they’re in.
“At the time when I went on loan to Dumbarton, I never thought for a minute Raith would be in this position.
“They’re far too big a club to get relegated to League One.
“But that’s football and fingers crossed, hopefully they can get themselves out the situation they’re in.
“I can only give 110 per cent for Dumbarton. Hopefully Raith don’t end up in the play-offs but if they do I would happily go back and help them try to sort things out.
“It is what it is. I think I might be free to play for Raith in the play-offs but I’m not 100 per cent sure.
“John Hughes has spoken to me and said you’re a professional and just have to do your job.
“I hope they can turn it round and obviously Dumbarton are just about safe now as well.”