‘Not good enough’ – well, that’s summed it up perfectly.
Those words were shouted in pure frustration by skipper Nathan Stainfield as soon as Spalding United went 3-0 down after 37 minutes.
There was no way back and even if Stainfield desperately wanted to motivate his team-mates, it didn’t work either.
The game was effectively over and everyone could have gone home at half-time.
The second period was so poor – not surprisingly – but Shaw Lane Aquaforce had got the job done.
The Tulips were lucky not to concede more goals but they still equalled the biggest defeat since promotion.
They failed to score for the first time this season but there are so many issues to be sorted out.
Manager Pat Rayment had complained before the game about poor performances and a failure to ‘get ourselves going’.
It was easy to see why he feels Spalding are too easy to play against right now.
They can’t even do all the basics like keeping the ball with simple passes. That puts the team under pressure and defensively they can’t cope.
Some players are missing due to unavailability but too many others are also absent by not performing well.
David Bell will become a playmaker who creates lots of chances but he struggled to get the ball down and dictate the game.
Having waited for a month to make his home debut, this was one to forget quickly.
After the final whistle, Stainfield was announced as the sponsors’ man of the match.
However, on nights like this you surely can’t give any credit to anyone.
Stainfield offered plenty of encouraging words but, as he rightly put it, this simply wasn’t good enough.
Yet the Tulips had actually made a positive start and the early exchanges suggested they would pose a real test for the second-placed Ducks.
The Barnsley-based side were on the back foot but as soon as they got to grips with the challenge, it became too comfortable.
Josh Moreman, who was pushed into a central role in the absence of Jake Newman and Tom Waumsley through injuries, again looked likely to be the main man.
His fourth-minute drive was pushed away at the near post by Ian Deakin who was soon called into action by tipping over Neal Spafford’s header.
Moreman sent another attempt flashing narrowly off target and it seemed only a matter of time until Spalding would break the deadlock.
But midway through the first half, Moreman gave the ball away in midfield and Shaw Lane Aquaforce took full advantage as Gavin Allott slotted home.
Two minutes later a right-wing cross was not cut out and Joe Thornton smashed a left-foot drive into the net.
When Lee Bennett made it 3-0, the home supporters were stunned into silence.
It could have been even worse before the break as Michael Emery pushed out Adam Priestley’s shot as he broke free.
After the interval, Spalding offered very little and there could be no positives – other than Shaw Lane Aquaforce didn’t extend the lead.
Jonathan Wafula almost headed a cross into his own net, Moreman blasted high and wide while Emery denied Michael Towey at the end.
Spalding’s home league defeats this term have come against the top two so maybe that tells a story about their own promotion prospects.
Rayment had already dismissed the Tulips’ chances until indvidual performances improve to get them going.
This was another very bad night and Spalding must do much better.
But, as one of Shaw Lane Aquaforce’s supporters was happy to point out, it was a good night for south Yorkshire with another 3-0 scoreline for Sheffield Wednesday.
4-4-2: Emery 5; Griffiths 5, Spafford 5, Stainfield 5, Jackson 5; Banister 4 (sub Walker 51 mins, 5), Murphy 5, Bell 5, Thurlbourne 4 (sub Lawlor 60 mins, 5); Moreman 5, Sanders 4 (sub Graham 68 mins, 5). Subs not used: Lockie, Earth.
SHAW LANE AQUAFORCE
4-2-3-1: Deakin; Stohrer, Holt, Radford, O’Brien; Thornhill, Istead; Priestley, Bennett (sub Towey 69 mins), Thornton (sub Wafula 74 mins); Allott (sub Darley 82 mins). Sub not used: Morriss.
Allott (22 mins, 0-1); Thornton (24 mins, 0-2); Bennett (37 mins, 0-3).
Not applicable – sponsors’ award went to Nathan Stainfield but nobody in a blue shirt deserves any credit on a very poor night.
Daventry Town (H) – Saturday.