Aldershot and Farnham slumped to a surprise South East Premier Division defeat – which left coach Ian Jennings furious.
A&F lost their previous three league matches, but they were against three of the best clubs in the division.
This time they went down 2-1 to Horsham at Heath End, and Jennings was disappointed with the side’s lack of urgency as well as their discipline.
He said: “We came off the back of three fantastic matches in terms of the quality of the opposition and the way we played and although we had three losses, we felt we could have won two.
“We then played a comparatively poor side and we unfortunately sunk to their level and rarely got out of second gear.
“I was frustrated by the lack of urgency in some quarters.
“In previous weeks I have been impressed with our structure and quality and on Saturday there was stuff we were doing that had no relevance to the training track.
“The danger of that is that we splutter and stutter as a result of people not knowing what each other are going to do.
“Our discipline gobsmacked me – I just don’t get it.
“It let themselves, me and the rest of the team down so much – just for once words fail me and I’m at a loss as to what to do next.
“I don’t have the depth of players to punish with an internal match suspension and the reality is it would ultimately weaken our team.”
Jennings will be looking for an immediate response this weekend when his side travel to London to face Blackheath and Eltahmians.
They had started the game against Horsham well, with a full, high press forcing their opponents to play hopeful long balls forward to isolated strikers.
A&F seemed comfortable, but one innocuous long ball wasn’t dealt with at the back. Goalkeeper Hamish Hall was on hand to deny the striker one-on-one to keep things level. The warning should have snapped A&F into action – but it didn’t.
The defence again switched off from the resulting long corner and this time Hall couldn’t prevent Horsham from taking the lead.
This was the fourth time in a row A&F had gone behind – and, much like those previous instances, they responded well.
Flowing forward in droves, they put the Horsham back line under near-constant pressure with little respite. However, they couldn’t emulate the quick equaliser that had come in previous matches.
Short corners were earned regularly down both flanks following work from Stu Morhall, Jamie Weston and James Treadgold, but those opportunities came and went without A&F getting on the scoresheet, with another inspired goalkeeping performance keeping out flicks by Treadgold and Scott Perry.
A&F were relatively pleased with their first half’s work – the opposition were tiring and beginning to question decisions and get riled up.
A&F were tasked with continuing their work, hitting back quickly and to keep working the opposition hard.
It soon became clear the second half would not go as planned. Horsham, looking to protect their legs and their lead, enacted a defensive half court press, dropping back to defend their own half.
Kevin McCafferty at left half in particular struggled to adapt to this change, as the A&F defence were unable to move the ball effectively through the lines and make inroads.
Individual mistakes were creeping into A&F’s game and the team were spluttering forward without their usual fluency.
Then they managed to hit back when a moment of individual brilliance from Perry, driving across the pitch from left to right, brought him into the Horsham D where he unleashed a vicious strike back across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
But A&F failed to kick on from this lifeline. The home crowd willed A&F forward, but the fluidity didn’t come back. Horsham won a string of corners of their own, Tom Herring seeing green for dissent.
A&F kept them out but were on the back foot. When Herring returned, Perry was given a very unlucky yellow almost immediately after for what appeared to be a clean tackle.
Then Horsham managed to make the pressure pay. A questionable short corner was given and Horsham opted for a drag flick which Hall dealt with.
However, the quickest to react was Horsham’s corner injector who put the rebound into the goal.
Horsham retreated again but A&F couldn’t muster another clear cut chance and the game finished in defeat.