Andy Peaks offered few excuses as he delivered a damning verdict on AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bromsgrove Sporting at Hayden Road.
An entertaining first half saw goals from Ryan Dove and Jack Bowen twice bring Diamonds back level before Michael Taylor’s second of the game put the visitors 3-2 up.
And Diamonds’ task was made harder when Zack Reynolds was sent-off just before half-time.
They were left with a mountain to climb when Jack Ashton also saw red for a lunge on 57 minutes and, after Nathan Hayward had made it 4-2 to the visitors, Diamonds capitulated in the final 10 minutes, conceding four more goals with Taylor hitting half of his team’s final tally.
Boss Peaks did feel aggrieved with the decision to send Reynolds off but he was left furious with the way his team folded late on.
I’d say for a neutral, up to 2-2, it was probably a good game to watch but I wasn’t happy because it wasn’t us at all,” Peaks said.
“Them getting the third goal before half-time was a whammy and then, for me, the sending-off (of Reynolds) had a massive impact on how the game panned out.
“I didn’t think it was a red card but I haven’t watched it again. Zack’s not that sort of player. I thought he had been fouled just before it and there was also a similar challenge from one of their boys before it and he only got a yellow. For me, it wasn’t a red card.
“It was always going to be tough with 10 against a team as good as Bromsgrove but we felt we could weather it and still create opportunities.
“We went to a 4-3-2 but the second red card makes it really difficult.
“There wasn’t a lot of doubt about that one, Jack should know better than that. He has had a rush of blood and it really made it difficult.
“But it was nowhere near good enough after that. Even with nine men you still have to defend so much better than we did.
“I have said over the years that our strength has been our defending and nine times out of 10 over the years, if we score two goals at home then we win the game.
“But we have been absolutely hammered and it was nowhere near good enough.
“No matter what the score is, I am one of those who thinks you have to keep going to the end and certainly in the last bit of the game, we were not good enough.
“Whatever system you play, no matter how many players you have, you have to have a bit of pride about you and they lost that towards the end.”
It’s now set to be a long week for Peaks and his players ahead of another home game against Coalville Town - the only unbeaten team in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central.
“We have another tough one next week and we are going to be two players short at least,” the Diamonds boss added.
“We have got a lot of work to do this week in training and that’s football. You have to take the highs and the lows.
“But that’s a tough one because the things I pride myself on were missing.
“I’d like to think a lot of the players will look at themselves after that.
“They are the same players who have done well for us, the same players who defended well and earned a point at Hednesford last week.
“We will look at the coaching side and look at what we can do better but I think the players need to have a good look at themselves as well.”