Holbeach United must find the right response again to their midweek setback.
The Tigers will take on Cogenhoe United at Carter’s Park on Saturday in their bid to close the gap in the title race.
They were beaten 3-0 at Yaxley on Tuesday night in the Knockout Cup semi-final.
Manager Seb Hayes said: “Cogenhoe are always a hard team to play against and we are low in numbers.
“We’ve got to give a real Holbeach performance because the people who watch us regularly know what we are all about.
“The players did not work for each other at Yaxley on Tuesday.
“I’ll back my captain Nick Jackson 100 per cent because he has been a brilliant leader.
“But it was embarrassing every time Yaxley attacked down that side and nobody in our team backed him up.
“They have let down our skipper who held up his hands in the dressing room and admitted his performance was not good enough.
“He never stopped trying but where was the support?
I’ve praised our players but this time they will have to take criticism.Seb Hayes
“If someone in the team has a bad game, you need to help them through it.
“We are getting to the business end of the season with this semi-final and big league games.
“Although we beat St Andrews last weekend quite easily in the first half, we’ve now had a game and a half of rubbish.
“We don’t want to see performances like this and let our standards slip. The next five or six games are massive.
“We are back at Yaxley in three weeks in the league, hopefully with a full squad.
“Some of those lads from Tuesday’s game might not be involved because we will have players coming back to strengthen the squad.
“People have got to be looking over their shoulders and wondering if someone will take their shirt.”
Luke Avis was cup-tied on Tuesday and Mitch Griffiths completed a three-match ban but Stacy Cartwright is suspended on Saturday.
Three second-half goals ended Holbeach’s hopes – and left the manager feeling “very disappointed” and “embarrassed”.
He admitted: “For a side who are second in the league, we didn’t give a good account of ourselves.
“This is why I’ve said previously that I didn’t want to call us title challengers.
“People might think I can over-react but I know this team. If we don’t do what we are good at, it’s not enough.
“I’m not blaming injuries and suspensions because Yaxley were better than us on the night. It’s too easy to talk about the players who were missing from our squad.
“I’ve praised our players but this time they will have to take criticism.”