The Hawks’ punishing schedule finally took its toll as they slumped to a 2-0 Skrill South defeat by Staines Town at Westleigh Park.
Lee Bradbury’s side showed all the signs of playing their seventh game in 14 days with a lacklustre display.
It has been a brutal fortnight for the Hawks but they have to pick themselves up and go again against play-off chasing Ebbsfleet United at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).
And if that wasn’t tough enough, they will only have 48 hours to recover before more promotion-chasers – this time Dover Athletic – travel along the south coast on Thursday night.
By the time the Hawks visit Basingstoke Town on Saturday, it could be a case of last man standing.
It is a massive test for the Hawks and Bradbury is hoping the Staines performance is merely a blip.
‘I felt that is the most lacklustre we have been,’ said the boss.
‘It is not that the lads didn’t want it but obviously having so many games in such a short space of time took its toll.
‘We still had the desire but lacked energy and couldn’t get around the park as much as we usually do.
‘Being forced to rotate the players because of the number of games we have to play doesn’t help.
‘Ideally when you are winning games you want to keep the same team but we don’t have that luxury.
‘You can’t keep the same team for six games in 10 days.
‘Asking players to keep working hard and closing down along with all the travelling is hard work.’
The lack of energy showed in the opening 45 minutes when the Hawks produced an extremely flat performance.
Staines were no more than a neat, ordinary side.
But when they took the lead five minutes before half-time it was no more than they deserved.
A deep corner fell to Staines dangerman Louie Theophanous and with the Hawks defence slow to react he cut inside his defender and beat Scott Bevan at his near post.
The home side tried to raise the tempo after the break but they were never convincing.
Their fate was sealed when further uncharacteristic poor defending allowed Ashley Lodge to pick up a loose ball outside the area, move forward unhindered and strike a shot past Bevan.
The Hawks never looked like getting back into the match after that. Bradbury added: ‘It is the first time we have really tripped up for a while.
‘We looked like we were waiting to go 1-0 down today.
‘Staines played well but we have beaten better teams this year.
‘We have to take it on the chin beacuse we have another game in the next 48 hours.’
HAWKS: Bevan , Newton, Blanchett, Ryan, Strugnell, Woodford, Nanetti (Jones, 76mins), Atangana (Donnelly, 80mins), Bassele, Kabba (Przespolewski, 40mins), Ciardini. Att: 541