Horndean’s anguish on court continued to grow following a 3-2 defeat to rivals Team Southampton in National League division two south.
The Deans suffered their third consecutive loss after two hours of gruelling action in Eastleigh.
Even the return to the fold of big guns Leandros Tsikras, Marcus Russell and Nasser Ssemuwemba could not stop Southampton from pocketing victory.
‘It was one of those matches that could have gone either way,’ said Horndean player coach Ssemuwemba.
‘We struggled to get our game going in the first two sets. We looked sluggish in defence and could have done better with most of the off-speed balls that were played back to us.
‘However, I would like to thank the players for a mini-fightback but I still believe it’s a match we should have won.
‘It’s always a bad feeling to lose against Southampton and all the players’ morale is quite low at the moment.’
The home team took control in the early stages of the first set.
Horndean replied with a few successful attacks through middle blocker Mark Byerley.
But it was Southampton who pulled away to win the first set 25-23.
The home side continued to hound the visitors’ sloppy defence in the second set.
Stephen Metherell tried to mount some pressure from the serve for the Deans but Southampton secured a 25-23 success.
The Deans had to conjure up all tricks in the book in order to stay in the match.
They fired on all cylinders to win a pulsating third set 29-27, thanks to ferocious attacks from Russell, Damian Roberts and Haakon Lie.
Tsikras put in a man-of-the-match performance, with his trademark powerful jump serves and flawless ball distribution, to help his side draw level 25-21.
But the Deans lost their nerve in the deciding set and Southampton won it 15-11.
Horndean will have to pick themselves up quickly in order to get back to winning ways, starting on Saturday with the visit of Cardiff Celts to Highbury College (11am).