Gosport Borough saw their slim hopes of making the National League South play-offs shot down in flames with a 6-1 hammering at Chelmsford City on Saturday.
Three goals in the first 22 minutes set the Privett Park outfit on their way to a heavy defeat.
With just two games left to play, Borough are four points adrift of fifth-placed Truro City, who also have three games in hand.
Alex Pike’s troops were punished for a poor display by hosts who looked far hungrier and more ruthless.
Assistant manager Mick Catlin admitted Borough could take few positives from the game.
He said: ‘It was a bad day at the office all round.
‘Chelmsford City had two lads out wide who were quick and strong and we couldn’t handle them.
‘Billy Bricknell was a real handful and ended up scoring four goals.
‘We never got going and found ourselves three goals down very quickly.
‘It rates as one of our poorest displays of the season.
‘We put so much into beating Basingstoke in midweek and it was the same set of players.
‘That seemed to take its toll and we lacked any energy.
‘We never ever looked like getting back into the game and after our dreadful opening it was only ever about damage limitation.’
Bricknell opened his account after 12 minutes as his drilled effort from the edge of the box took a slight deflection on it’s way past George Legg.
Two goals in a minute midway through the half left Borough stunned.
On 21 minutes, Bagasan Graham’s effort took another deflection past Legg and Bricknell quickly added his own second.
Bricknell completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time – arrowing a shot into the far corner.
Gosport were given a lifeline when Dan Wooden was tugged back inside the area and Justin Bennett coolly sent Christian Dibble the wrong way with his spot-kick.
But Bricknell made sure any hopes of a Borough fightback were nipped in the bud by scoring his fourth goal nine minutes after the break.
He was picked out by a Jack Bridge cross and hammered his shot into the roof of the net.
Bridge completed the rout with a powerful drive in time added on.
‘Our priority now is to keep players fit for our final two league games of the season,’ said Catlin.
Borough finish their league season with a trip to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday and a home game against Hayes & Yeading a week later.
Gosport Borough: Legg, Cuthbertson, Williams, Brice (Wilde, 46min), Pearce, Carter, Woodford, Higgins (Ryan, 60min), Wooden, Bennett, Dunford (May, 79min). Att: 850