Eastbourne United AFC slumped to their heaviest league defeat since September 2011 after a 4-0 defeat at the hands of mid-table Steyning Town.
The scoreline arguably flattered the hosts after two goals in the final two minutes but United will need to show a massive improvement in order to maintain their promotion push.
United could have been ahead within the opening five minutes when Pete Cooper’s perfectly weighted pass was met by the run of Simon Catt whose effort beat Steyning ‘keeper Matt Evans, but was cleared off the line by a covering defender.
The hosts took the lead against the run of play on twelve minutes as an angled pass split the United defence and found an on-running Craig Knowles who despatched his shot past Adam Sargent despite appeals for offside. United spurned numerous half-chances in the first half with Cooper, Catt and Del-Gaudio going close before Liam Baitup had the best chance of all, but the 26-goal striker screwed his shot wide.
Peter Featherstone rattled the Steyning woodwork in the second half but after that it was all Steyning. Knowles added a second straight from an Adam Sargent clearance
Phil Williamson hit the third as United pressed forward and just before the end Knowles completed his hat-trick and scored the home side’s fourth.
UNITED: Sargent; Davidson, Lee (Hughes 78), Sherriff, Featherstone (C), Stracey, Del-Gaudio (Bunn 70), Catt, Cooper, Baitup, Divall (Barden 70)