Bexhill United Football Club produced what joint manager Ryan Light described as its most lacklustre performance of the season on Saturday.
The Pirates were beaten 3-2 away to Southwick in a Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One fixture where all the goals came during the second half.
Light said: "We never really got going and it was certainly our most lacklustre performance of the season so far. It was the first time this year it looked like we had a bit of a soft under-belly and 3-2 probably flattered us. It was just a really poor day at the office."
Bexhill were missing Kevin Barden, Matt Cunnington, Georges Gouet, Steve Willis, Connor Robertson and Billy Trickett for various reasons, and never really got close to Southwick during the first half.
Although Southwick dominated possession before the break, Bexhill probably fashioned the best two chances on the odd occasion when they broke. Drew Greenall fired one of them wide and headed the other over the top at a corner.
Bexhill suffered a setback right at the start of the second half when midfield terrier Kyle Holden had to go off after taking a heavy kick on the ankle when an opponent slid in. Although Holden's ankle swelled up like a balloon, it was he who received a yellow card from the referee.
Bexhill had to shuffle their pack further as a result and things just didn't work as well thereafter, with Light admitting that his team was always going to miss someone of Holden's industrious presence, particularly away from home.
Southwick took the lead soon afterwards. The ball was delivered to the far post where Jack Piner totally mishit his first effort, but adjusted his footing to squirm his second attempt under Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose.
Bexhill put that behind them to enjoy their best spell of the match for the next 10 or 15 minutes. They duly equalised when Craig Ottley's free kick was spilled by the home goalkeeper and Gordon Cuddington poked home the rebound.
The goal raised Bexhill's hopes of getting something out of the game, but they fell behind again. A free kick from just inside Bexhill's half found Ross Myers, who turned and fired into the bottom corner on the half-volley.
Individual errors were to blame as Bexhill conceded a third. After Alex Trickett missed his kick, Wayne Giles left an attempted back pass short and Myers pounced to score his second.
Bexhill pulled one back late on when leading scorer Ottley converted a penalty for his ninth goal of the season after substitute Jacob Shelton was brought down in the box.
"Most of our group haven't played a full season of senior football yet and December's hurting us a little bit," added Light.
"Although we've had some great performances and beaten some of the top teams, I think they need to learn to find a way to be a bit more consistent with their performances, but that will come with playing season after season at this level."
Bexhill: Rose; Butchers, Kidman (A. Trickett), McFarlane, Ottley; Olujobi, Holden (Shelton), Giles, Cuddington, Wheeler; Greenall.
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