Horsham were handed their heaviest defeat in 35 years as they were humiliated by Cray Wanderers in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
They were given an 8-0 thumping at Bromley’s Hayes Lane by their league rivals, who had beaten them 3-0 in Bostik League action just seven days previously.
Again, The Hornets’ injury crisis was more than valid with nine players out, 11 if including recent loan signings George Landais and Will Robinson that were not permitted to play by their parent clubs.
Despite that, it was a preliminary round horror show from Horsham, who trailed 5-0 at half-time, before substitute Freddie Parker scored a second-half hat-trick in the rout. That confirmed the worst-ever defeat for the club in the competition and the heaviest for manager Dominic Di Paola in his reign.
He said: “It was just not acceptable. You could try and make all the excuses in the world, but the simple fact was it was an unacceptable performance. I know the players are hurting and are embarrassed.
“We were 3-0 down to three set-pieces, but I did think the first 20 minutes were quite even! We just fell apart after that, the confidence was shot and they taught us a lesson.
“It was a hard one to take - every one is hurting fans, players, managers, but as players and managers, we weren’t good enough.
“They were a really good side, I have to say. They outclassed us on the day and looked like potential title winners - but we were just not good enough.
“It’s really hard with so many players out and so many that we wanted to play for us not playing. There are no excuses ever for losing 8-0 though, never. Three or four, you can say this or that, but as people, you cannot make excuses for Saturday.”
The Wands led in the sixth minute when Aaron Rhule curled in from the edge of the area, beating Michael Hunter.
Joe Shelley’s effort was blocked away, before on 22 minutes, a corner came out to Jerome Frederico who doubled the lead by shooting through a crowded penalty area.
At the other end, Charlie Farmer headed a free kick just wide, but Cray broke again to add another - Karl Dent’s free kick was volleyed in by Marcus Evans.
In Cray’s next attack, Rhule’s cross was put in from close range by Michael Power. With five minutes of the first half left to play, it was 5-0, Dent’s effort was saved by Hunter, but Power tapped home.
Just 15 minutes into the second half, the assistant referee adjudged a shot had hit Alex Duncan’s arm and Parker sent Hunter the wrong way from the spot.
Frederico then jinxed his way into the box on 73 minutes and picked out Parker to pass the ball home, before he completed his treble five minutes later.
Horsham: Hunter, Hartley, Farmer, Metcalf, Thurgar, Harris, Shelley, Budd, Street, Kirkwood, Lawley. Subs: Duncan, Boswell, Waller, McCarthy.