Craig Elliott didn’t pull any punches after watching his Boston United side beaten 2-1 by Altrincham.
Josh Hancock and Jordan Hulme netted the winning goals in a display the Pilgrims boss described as spineless, atrocious and abysmal.
Ben Davies gave Boston hope with 10 minutes to go as he converted from the spot, but the hosts lacked the firepower and belief to get anything from the game.
Here is the manager’s comments in full:
“I didn’t see it coming, the first half. To use words like spineless and lack of effort, it hurts me to say that as they’ve been anything but that in the last month.
“I think we’ve shown a lot of heart and I thought we were slowly getting there. Then we get this again, and it hurts me.
“It’s hard to defend them, how can I defend individuals, a groups of players, when you play so poorly like that in the first half.
“Take the second half away as it’s so easy to come out and have a better reaction. The hardest part’s starting well and showing courage, and we just didn’t do that. We were very poor. Very poor.
“We weren’t tight all over the pitch, it was obvious, especially in the middle of the park. We didn’t want to get tight to people. But it was all over (the pitch).
“When we got the ball back we were careless and I can’t stand it. It was atrocious. We were terrible and it hurts me to say that as I didn’t see that coming.
“I’ve just said 2-1 doesn’t reflect the game, we should have been out of sight in the first half. You’ll probably pick the paper up, see we lost 2-1 and think ‘that was a close game’, but it should have been a lot easier for them second half.
“We said at half time about not losing the second half, but that’s clutching at straws.
I feel like we’ve gone back two months. Peterborough Sports (FA Cup defeat) was probably the lowest point I’ve had since I’ve been here, and I feel like that again.
“We’ve got wingers, pace, tricks. We’ve got goals in the team, but at home we don’t seem to be able to make it click.
“I’m really upset tonight. It’s hard but you’ve got to look at yourself. I think ‘I brought you here and I expect better’.
“The thing is how easy we were to play against. The fans pay their hard-earned money to watch and the bare minimum they should expect is effort and aggression and workrate. You’re always going to lose matches but effort, for fans to question that, I have to agree with them. It hurts. It’s terrible.
“It was an absolutely abysmal performance first half. I said to them you should be embracing playing at home. Five minutes to go they should be pegged back in their box and we should be knocking on the door. Players not prepared to pout their head in where it hurts.
“It would have been a false result if we’d have got a draw out of that. I’ve got to go away and reflect and see where we are. I think some players are not playing to the levels they should be. They’re way below what they’ve shown in the past. I need to decide whether I’ve seen something different (in them).”