RUR Cup holders Eastbourne Town were knocked out of the competition on Tuesday night following a lackluster display at Broadbridge Heath.
The 4-2 defeat was just days after their extra-time 3-2 victory against Farnham in the FA Vase at the Saffrons last Saturday and boss John Lambert admitted his jaded players were far from the best.
It was only their second defeat of the season, having lost previously in the FA Cup at Didcot Town in October, but Lambert was unimpressed.
“We had a few injuries and perhaps they were tired from the Vase game but I am making no excuses, the performance simply was not good enough and I told the players that in no uncertain terms.
“I had seen signs that I did not like in the previous game against Farnham.
“We were not at it and this team is not good enough to just turn up.
“You have to work hard for everything in life and football is no different. We can’t just turn up and think we have the game won.
“We did that on Tuesday and it’s not good enough, the players know that.”
After a pretty awful goaless first half, Broadbridge took the lead on 53 minutes through Scott Weller but Town responded with goals from the ever-reliable duo of Kenny Pogue and Wes Tate.
The holders looked on course to grind their way to victory until the hosts hit three in 20 minutes through Ollie Moore, Andy Waddingham and Tiago Andrade.
Lambert added, “After we went 2-1 up I thought we would go on and win it.
“But it just wasn’t there and they bang in three goals from corners. It’s disappointing and unusual for us to concede from corners, our defence are usually pretty solid on set pieces.
“I’m gutted as we were the holders and I wanted to defend that cup. A few big teams have already gone out of this competition and we have missed a big chance to get some silverware.”
Lambert insists he wants a positive reaction from the players as they welcome Wick and Barnham to the Saffrons tomorrow (Saturday).
Town remain unbeaten in the league and are behind leaders Newhaven in second place on goal difference. Town do however have a game in hand on Newhaven.
Tomorrow’s opponents Wick and Barnham are third from bottom in the league standings.
Brett Patton returns following a one-match suspension while pacey forwards Aaron Capon and Jason Taylor could return from injury.
“We are unbeaten in the league and we are there to shot down, every team is gunning for us and lads have to get used to that.
“Hopefully Tuesday night is a lesson for us, if you ease up just a little a bit, you get beaten.”