Gainsborough Trinity manager Steve Housham blasted his side’s lack of desire as they fell to a 5-1 defeat at home to Stockport County on Saturday.
A Kristian Dennis hat-trick – supplemented by a first half strike from Iain Howard and a stunner from Chris Churchman – did for the Blues, who were made to pay for not taking their early chances with brutal consequences.
“We didn’t show any kind of desire,” said Housham.
“I don’t think I saw a fully committed tackle all game.”
“I’ve spoken to the players and we’ve said it’s been a tough day at the office.”
“It’s the worst they’ve played since I’ve been here.”
Housham’s side were also hit by another injury worry, with Greg Young collapsing with a back injury in the lead-up to Stockport’s third goal.
“If there’s a centre half out there who wants to play for free, give me a ring.”
“The only positive to come out today was Michael Leary, he’s played centre half before and he stepped in well.”
After Jamie Wootton had a first minute effort disallowed for offside, the opening goal wasn’t long in coming for the visitors.
Dennis ghosted away from Young inside the Trinity area, and was met perfectly by Howard’s cross, leaving Gainsborough keeper Phil Barnes with little chance despite getting a firm hand on the ball.
The open start to the game continued with Liam Davis and Phil Jevons trading dipping volleys inside the first ten minutes.
But soon the visitors were 2-0 up.
Nicky Platt drilled a corner from the left into the Blues’ danger area, and Dennis was in the right place once again to head past Barnes and put Trinity in a deep hole after just quarter of an hour.
The second goal seemed to be the catalyst for some improvement from the home side, with Young having a shot cleared off the line on 20 minutes.
Davis scraped the crossbar with a cross-cum-shot and generally looked lively, but despite their attacking play the Blues’ went into the break three goals down.
With the ball worked to the edge of the box, Young went down clutching his back, giving Nicky Platt ample time to find Howard, who placed the ball past Barnes to end the game as a contest before the break.
With Leary and Jonathan Williams entering the fray, Trinity switched to a midfield diamond but very little else changed for the home side as Dennis completed his hat-trick on 55 minutes.
Although the game was gone, Darryn Stamp continued to put in his usual shift up front, and was rewarded shortly after the hour mark with a towering header from a Ciaran Toner corner that defeated the impressive Ian Ormson in the Stockport goal.
However, any lingering thoughts of an unlikely comeback were quashed by Chris Churchman’s sensational strike five minutes later.
Thirty yards from goal, the midfielder took a brief look up before lashing the ball into Barnes’ top corner to complete a miserable day for Trinity.
Gainsborough Trinity: Barnes, Lacey, Wilde, Taylor (Williams 45), Howe, Young (Leary 43), Russell, Toner, Wootton, Stamp, Davis (Batty 78). Subs: Martin, Karkach.
Stockport: Ormson, Jacobs, Duxbury, Platt, Fagbola, Cowan, Moses, Churchman, Dennis (Dickinson, 71), Jevons, Howard. Subs: Charnock, O’Halloran, Lofthouse, Jones
Yellow: Young 22.
Goals: Dennis 4, 15, 55, Howard 43, Stamp 65, Churchman 70.
Referee: Mr G. Stretton.