Gainsborough Trinity manager Dave Frecklington pulled no punches after a 4-0 defeat at fifth-placed Chorley left his side’s National League North status in jeopardy.
Trinity remained three points from safety and have just five matches left to escape the drop.
They have not won since at Harrogate in mid-January and have picked up just two points in 10 matches — eight under Frecklington.
Frecklington, who praised his side after a 3-3 draw at home to high-flying Darlington a week earlier, said: “It was an absolute car crash from half an hour in.
“As soon as they scored their first goal — and it was debatable whether it was in or not — it was not acceptable.
“We are taking two or three steps forward and then one back.
“I didn’t see that coming at all. There was a fantastic performance last week and at Halifax before that. We prepared really well and had Chorley watched — we knew their strengths and weaknesses, yet we exploited those weaknesses just twice in the whole game.
“We asked for diagonals behind their full back. When straight from the kick-off in the second half we do it Jordan (Thewlis) should score.
“He knows that and he is disappointed. It would have been 1-1 and a different game.
“Then it was an absolute collapse from 48 minutes to the 90th minute — it was unacceptable.
“Players were off the levels where they were last week. If you do that against teams fighting for promotion they will punish you — and we got severely punished today.
“We didn’t deserve anything from the game.”
Jason Walker prodded Chorley in front nine minutes before half-time, scoring from inside the six-yard area.
The assistant referee awarded the goal with Trinity appealing that keeper Tom Nicholson had kept the ball out.
Thewlis should have levelled at the start of the second half, but struck the keeper’s legs with his finish.
Walker made it 2-0 in the 55th minute and Marcus Carver added a third.
Defender Matty Wilson was dismissed for two yellow cards, awarded for fouls, inside three minutes with the second conceding a 78th minute penalty that Walker converted for his hat-trick.