Lee Bradbury was bitterly disappointed by the Hawks’ 3-0 National League South defeat at Sutton United.
Just when he thought his team were turning the corner, he was left in little doubt there is still plenty of work to do.
I can take losing if we perform well but in this game we lost all the battlesLee Bradbury
The visitors were outmuscled and outfought all over the excellent 3G pitch and failed to produce a single shot on target in the whole 90 minutes.
The back four looked flimsy, the midfielders were anonymous and the forwards ineffective.
Most disappointingly, the passion and desire of recent games was missing.
Sutton dominated the game from start to finish and only the efforts of goalkeeper Ryan Young prevented the Hawks suffering a heavier defeat.
With fellow strugglers winning, the defeat saw the Westleigh Park outfit tumble to 18th in the table and just four points above the drop zone.
Bradbury insists the Hawks must learn from it.
‘We go to Weston-super-Mare tomorrow and have to learn,’ said the boss.
‘We were physically undone by a hard-working, strong team and found ourselves chasing the game.
‘We were nowhere near good enough to deal with that. It was hugely disappointing, especially in the second half when we never looked like getting back into the game.
‘We failed to create anything over the 90 minutes.
‘I can take losing if we perform well but in this game we lost all the battles.
‘Sutton used the conditions better to give themselves the impetus.
‘All the goals we conceded came from crosses and were poor.
‘We were a bit naive and failed to cope with their experience and physicality.’
The Hawks played the opening 45 minutes against a bitingly cold wind, blowing straight down the pitch.
Sutton used the conditions to pin the visitors back and the pressure paid off midway through the half.
A corner bounced off Harry Medway at the far post straight to Craig McAllister, who fired into the roof of the net from close range.
The hosts then left the Hawks facing an uphill struggle with a second goal in first-half stoppage-time, McAllister again striking from close range.
‘Their second goal was a killer, coming when it did,’ said Bradbury.
‘We knew if we could come out in the second half and grab the next goal we would be back in it.
‘It never happened and we need to be a lot better than that.’
Sutton’s third came on 79 minutes when the Hawks failed to clear a deep corner and man-of-the-match Craig Dundas converted the loose ball.
The Hawks’ miserable afternoon was complete when full-back Warren Cummings was sent off for retaliation, after he was struck from behind off the ball.
HAWKS: Young, Medway, Cummings, Stock (Donnelly, 46min), Strugnell, McCarthy, Poku, Lewis, Paterson, Morgan (Mullings, 79min), Hayter (Ciardini, 62min)