Northern Ireland suffered another setback in their bid to secure a top-eight finish at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
Following Sunday’s shock reversal to tournament debutants Zimbabwe, Dan Ryan’s team were defeated 47-43 by Malawi.
Ryan’s team face a daunting clash with New Zealand on Tuesday before completing their second phase against Barbados on Thursday.
Northern Ireland’s Michelle Drayne admitted the nature of another close loss was tough to take.
Drayne said: “We’re just gutted – we got it back to two in that third quarter and we thought we had it, but we made too many sloppy errors.
“There’s still a lot of confidence in the group. We’ve only lost by two and four – we haven’t been hammered.
“Against New Zealand we’ll probably just try a few combinations and run the bench a lot more. Realistically we know it’s a game we’re not going to win, but we really want to put up a good contest.”