Padiham boss Liam Smith blasted his players following the 6-2 defeat to Prestwich Heys, labelling the performance at Adie Moran Park as inexcusable.
The joint Storks boss accepted that there’ll always be bumps in the road when fielding a young squad but he refused to make excuses after being dumped out of the Buildbase FA Vase.
The second qualifying round tie had gone to a replay after extra-time failed to separate the two sides at the Arbories at the weekend.
Despite a dominant display in the first half, where Tom Hulme hit the upright, they trailed to Lee Grimshaw’s strike at the interval.
The second half delivered seven goals as Rio Wilson-Heyes and a second for Grimshaw gave the hosts a three- goal cushion on the hour.
Jack Tinning pulled a goal back in the 74th minute only for Chris Baguley to restore that cushion two minutes later.
Liam O’Neill made it 4-2 from the spot in the 82nd minute but Michael Itela and Theo Kidd sealed a home tie against Garforth next month.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Smith. “We should be winning those types of games against opposition from the league below. The next round was a winnable tie for us as well. I’m bitterly disappointed to be out of the competition.
“We spoke to the players after the game and told them, in no uncertain terms, that the level of performance against Prestwich was unacceptable. We fell way below our standards and I’m looking for a massive reaction now.
“I’m not happy at all, especially having conceded six goals against a side in the division below us.
“It was a disgusting second half display and that can’t happen again. They were more clinical than us and they deserved their progression to the next round.”
Smith is praying that some of his walking wounded will be in contention to make tomorrow’s Hallmark Security Premier Division fixture against Litherland REMYCA.
The likes of Chris Turner, Jake Hargreaves, Kane Hickman and Oliver Ford have been sidelined, James Dean came off after 10 minutes midweek while Alan Zuqolli has been serving a suspension.
But whoever makes the starting XI, Smith is demanding a response. “There haven’t been many positives over the last two games,” he said. “Our league form of late has been okay but it could be better.
“We want a reaction and we need to find that consistency because at the moment nobody knows which Padiham is going to turn up. They’ve got to respond to that.
“Everybody is hurting and I’m sure they’re determined to remedy that with three points.
“Our lads will be bang up for it at the weekend because they’ll want to make amends for that last performance.
“They’re a young bunch who want to learn. Last night will have taught them a lesson or two in football.
“They’ll now understand that they can’t take anybody for granted, you’ve got to take your chances and you’ll get punished for poor defending.”