The Hawks were distinctly under the weather in their 2-0 Ryman League premier division defeat at the hands of Enfield Town at Westleigh Park.
Boss Lee Bradbury revealed after the game five of his players had spent the previous two days in bed with a sickness bug.
Numbers were decimated at training and it was far from the perfect preparation as the Hawks looked to consolidate top spot.
It partly but not wholly, explains the below-par performance which leaves them with just one win from their last five league games.
‘Illness has hit us hard and I felt we weren’t quite at it,’ said Bradbury.
‘A few of the players dragged themselves off their sick beds to take part but it showed.
‘We had the best chances of the game and it is disappointing.
‘It isn’t easy because we are there to be shot at in this league with other teams regarding us as a big scalp.
‘That isn’t us being arrogant but a fact of life.
‘So far we have dealt with it quite well and we have to continue doing so.
‘The biggest disappointment is the lost opportunity because two of our biggest rivals – Leiston and Needham Market – also lost.’
It wasn’t long before the Hawks got the impression it just wasn’t going to be their day.
First they fell behind after just two minutes and then eight minutes later squandered a golden opportunity to equalise.
Ben Swallow was brought down just inside the area but Jason Prior blasted his spot-kick over the bar.
‘You would have put your mortgage on Jason putting the penalty away,’ added Bradbury.
‘If that had gone in it would have been a totally different game.
‘That was a turning point because if we scored it then we go on and win.
‘I can’t have a pop at him too much because he has been great for us scoring four penalties in the last two games. Everyone misses sometimes.
‘Before that we were caught out early on and that was disappointing.’
For the rest of the half the home side dominated possession without causing the visitors many problems.
Time and again the Hawks made inroads down the flanks but the final cross lacked quality.
The pattern was the same after the break with the hosts pressing without making a real impression. Enfield were dangerous on the break and they sealed their win nine minutes before the end.
With the Hawks defence backing off, substitute Tom Collins lashed a 25-yard drive past Ryan Young.
‘We had more than 60-per-cent possession but it is about what you do with it,’ said Bradbury.
‘It is all about starting to take our chances again.’
Hawks: Young, Fogden, Williams, Stock, Woodford, Molyneaux, Swallow (Harris, 67min), Robinson (Lewis, 74min), Prior, Paterson, Barker (Hayter, 67min). Attendance: 626