Horndean endured a Valentine’s Day massacre as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat against Hamworthy United at Five Heads Park.
The result pushes Dave Carter’s side deeper into the relegation dogfight at the foot of the Wessex League premier division table – especially given Hayling United’s fine away victory.
Horndean made the early running, playing down the slope, without creating any chances of note.
Their best opportunity came on 12 minutes when Chemal Fenelon drove the ball across the six-yard area after getting to the byline.
Aaron Fennemore then managed a good header from a free-kick but it was straight at the keeper.
Hamworthy looked stronger as the half progressed and home keeper Simon Howard had to beat away Aaron Stacey’s fierce shot.
And it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 16 minutes when a break down the left ended with the unmarked Sam Lanahan looping a far-post header back across Howard and into the net.
The home side went to pieces and minutes later Lanahan sent another header narrowly over the top.
The hosts were now being over-run in midfield and looking vulnerable at the back.
Horndean fell further behind on 32 minutes when they failed to cut out a long forward ball and Lee Chudy was left with the simple task of knocking the cross in from close range.
The home side continued to make little impression at the start of the second half and soon fell further behind.
On 54 minutes, Alex Shepherd was penalised on the edge of the box and Chudy fired his free-kick over the wall and past the static Howard.
Carter’s charges gave themselves a lifeline five minutes later when Bryn Mckie ran at the defence before thumping his shot high into the net from just outside the area.
Horndean’s joy was short-lived, however, as the visitors restored their three-goal lead on 66 minutes.
With the home side pushing forward, Hamworthy broke and Stephen Whitcher raced clear to beat Howard at the second attempt.
Carter, left, continued to urge the Deans forward but there was no way back and they were well beaten by the end of the match.
Horndean: Howard, Smith, Perkins, Shepherd, Chapman, Mckie, Fennemore, Spurway, Bell, Spicer, Fenelon. Subs: Austin, Blackmore, Miroy, Paxton, Warren, Martin.
Hamworthy United: Evans, Wyatt, Hayson, Horlock, White, Stacey, Lanahan, Robinson, Burbidge, Chudy, Whitcher. Subs: Barham, Wakefield, Voicey.
Referee: A Hillier