NINE-man Boston United crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday, after Altrincham came from behind to book a place in the first round.
Chairman David Newton will be ruing the loss of the £12,500 prize money, plus the chance of a plum draw at League Two Burton Albion.
But the Pilgrims were the creators of their own downfall, after strikers Ben Fairclough and Spencer Weir-Daley both received their marching orders.
The duo will both receive three-match bans for their dismissals.
But the frustrating aspect for the home bench was the fact that United bossed the game until they went a man down.
Within three minutes, Stuart Coburn was forced into a great save for the visitors, getting down well to palm Fairclough’s powerful header away from goal.
Seconds later and Altrincham’s defence had to be on their toes, again hacking away a Fairclough header.
In the 11th minute, United took the lead, turning defence into attack.
Mark Jones played a neat one-two with Weir-Daley.
But when he got the perfectly-weighted return ball, Jones skipped the challenge of Shaun Densmore, before rifling home a left-footed drive – his fourth goal in as many games.
But United has little over a minute to celebrate their lead before their game plan had to change.
Fairclough wildly lunged at Matt Doughty and was sent off by referee Adrian Holmes.
As United opted to take a more defensive approach, the Robins made the most of the additional space they were being gifted.
Dan Haystead had to be at his best to pull off a fine reaction save of his own, blocking James Lawrie’s close-range volley, after Nicky Clee drilled a low cross into the box.
However, Lawrie levelled the scores after the interval, firing home when granted space to shoot in the penalty area.
But once again, a goal was followed by a dismissal.
This time, ref Adrian Holmes sent Weir-Daley to the dressing room following an altercation with Jake Moult, which saw the Robins player drop to the floor.
Altrincham soon made their two-man advantage pay off, and that man Moult was in the thick of the action once again.
His 20-yard strike deflected wickedly, beating Haystead and finding the net.
Jason Lee had one final throw of the dice left.
The Boston boss opted to introduce young strikers Korey Dyer-Stewart and Charley Sanders.
Perhaps he thought the duos’ raw talent and enthusiasm could cause problems.
Maybe he was resting Ian Ross and Mark Jones, especially as they’ll be overworked with two suspensions looming.
Either way, Sanders came close to levelling with a clever curling effort.
But it was the Robins who had the final say as Clee fired home a powerful strike to compound United’s misery.
UNITED: Haystead, Marshall, Jelleyman, Milnes, Ward, Stainfield, Fairclough, Ross (Sanders 76), Jones (Dyer-Stewart 76), Newsham, Weir-Daley; Subs (not used): Smith, Dawson, Reed, Stokes, Drury.
ALTRINCHAM: Coburn, Densmore, Doughty, Rodgers (Richman 59), Havern, Hall, Watmore (Mitchley 77), Moult, Lawrie, Reeves, Clee (Lacey 90); Subs (not used): Leather, Lacey, Richman, Brooke, Mitchley, Greygoose.
Ref: Adrian Holmes.