Lee Bradbury was visibly stunned after the Hawks’ 5-0 drubbing by Sutton United at Westleigh Park.
A club-record Skrill South home defeat had badly hurt the manager’s pride.
Two-goals in 11 minutes before half-time put the home side firmly on the back foot.
The Hawks had battled back from the same position to draw at Whitehawk last Tuesday.
But on this occasion they just folded against skilful visitors, who could easily have scored more.
‘I feel badly let down by my players,’ said Bradbury.
‘In the second half we just threw the towel in and that is unnacceptable.
‘It was nowhere near good enough and we were taught a lesson.
‘We were second best for 40 minutes and it hurts me to say they wanted it more than us.
‘I normally stick up for my players but can’t after that.
‘They were made aware of my feelings in the dressing room afterwards.
‘It is a massive disappointment but I believe we can come out of the other side of this as a better team.’
For 34 minutes, it was a good contest and the Hawks laid claim to the opening goal.
Sutton keeper Tom Lovelock dropped a Steve Ramsey cross over his line and – after seeming to award the goal – the officials changed their minds and awarded a free-kick for a foul.
Then the Hawks’ defensive gremlins resurfaced and Sutton forged ahead.
Kane Haysman crashed in a superb half-volley after a loose ball fell to him on the edge of the area.
And with the last kick before the break, Anthony Riviere scored from close range after the Hawks failed with three attempts to scramble the ball away.
After the break the home side’s fightback failed to materialise – and Sutton tore them to shreds with some intelligent passing football.
On 70 minutes, Craig Dundas headed in at the far post and former Hawks striker Jamie Slabber added two goals in three minutes to complete the rout.
The home side were left in total disarray.
‘When things are going against you that is the time you need characters to step up,’ said Bradbury.
‘You have to stick together as a group and still want to get on the ball.
‘We didn’t have the desire to do that and need to be mentally tougher.
‘It is very frustrating to see us collapse in the way we did.
‘You have to give credit to Sutton because they were a well-organised and experienced team who did a job on us.
‘It is a couple of weeks now since we have won, so have to work hard to get back to winning ways.’
Pompey loanee Ryan Bird was the one highlight for the Hawks.
He worked hard and was comfortably the most potent threat for the disappointing home side.
Hawks: Fitzsimons, Newton, Blanchett (Kabba, 60mins), Hutchinson, Strugnell, E Harris, Ramsey (Monteiro, 59mins), Ryan, Bird, Jones (Smith, 77mins), Ciardini. Subs not used: Woodford, A Harris. Att: 530