No excuses – Spalding United’s dismal display was totally unacceptable.
A lack of quality meant that the Tulips were completely outclassed by Cleethorpes Town on Monday.
Whatever the budget has cost to put together this squad, it’s certainly not providing any value for money.
Changes will need to be made after three successive defeats.
Key players were missing – Paul Walker, Jordan Lemon, Lee Beeson and Nathan Whitehead would have made it look much better, surely.
But the only positive was the debut of under-21 striker Lewis Millington. At least he showed a bit of energy.
It took 71 minutes for the Tulips to manage a shot on target as Liam Higton made a comfortable save.
Millington had another effort held at the near post while Higton also denied Jamie McGhee and Liam Harris.
All of that, though, was too little, too late.
The game was effectively all over inside five minutes as the Owls punished diabolical defending.
Having conceded six times on Saturday, Spalding made a terrible start 48 hours later.
Liam Davis had already wasted a golden chance but Cleethorpes took control with a quickfire double.
It was far too easy as the Tulips couldn’t cope at all.
Owls skipper Alex Brett’s left-wing cross was headed in by Jonathan Oglesby at the far post.
Almost immediately, it was 2-0 as Andrew Taylor found space behind Ellis Humble and Neal Spafford to lob the ball over Michael Duggan.
Free-kicks by Gary King and Adam Jackson went over but the set-piece delivery all afternoon by Spalding was awful.
They couldn’t create any clear-cut chances and it may have been even worse as Marc Cooper and Flett failed to test Duggan before the break.
Four minutes into the second half, any prospect of a comeback was ended.
Again it was simple for Cleethorpes as Oglesby put the ball into the danger zone, Cooper and Taylor couldn’t convert but Tim Lowe swept in the third goal.
Cooper came close when he poked wide and Spalding only threatened at the other end following a couple of substitutions.
Overall, it was absolutely awful from the Tulips – apart from Millington’s debut.
Going out of the Emirates FA Cup was a blow financially and two league defeats don’t mean the promotion dream is over for last season’s play-off finalists.
However, there is no doubt that Spalding must improve all over the pitch.
The bank holiday weekend was a defensive nightmare but it’s not all about the back four because they need to have more protection as well.
While the Tulips try to work out where it has gone wrong, Cleethorpes can enjoy being on top of the table with four consecutive wins.
4-1-4-1: Duggan 5; Fixter 4, Humble 4, Spafford 4, Jackson 4; Varley 4; Lockie 4 (sub Higginson 62 mins, 5), King 4, Harris 4, Acar 4 (sub McGhee 70 mins, 5); Millington 6. Subs not used: Neil, Hart, Smith.
4-4-2: Higton; Lowe, Donald, Coleman, Winn; Oglesby, Dickens, Flett (sub Richardson 81 mins), Davis (sub Mascall 70 mins); Taylor (sub North 73 mins), Cooper. Subs not used: Bloomer, McKay.
Oglesby (4 mins, 0-1); Taylor (5 mins, 0-2); Lowe (49 mins, 0-3).
Fixter, Spafford, Flett (fouls).
Lewis Millington – a promising debut was the only positive for the Tulips.
Stamford (A) – Saturday.