ARUNDEL Football Club slipped to a third successive league defeat when they lost at Hailsham Town on Saturday.
It was the second time this season that the Mullets have conceded seven against Hailsham, after a 7-0 home defeat in the Sussex Senior Cup in September.
Arundel boss Simon Butler said he was embarrassed by his team’s showing and offered his resignation after the game.
Mullets rejected the offer and asked Butler to see how the next three games go.
Butler said: “It was a really poor defeat from our point of view. It was 1-1 at half time and we looked to be well in the game.
“But, as in our last league game at Littlehampton, we just fell apart in the second half.
“It is not acceptable, if we concede an early goal in the second half of games, to just capitulate in the way that we did on the field.
“I think it may have been a little bit of a hangover from our penalty defeat in the cup but that is not an excuse.
“We were just simply not good enough and a few players threw in the towel.
“I don’t enjoy having to shout at the players but it was needed after that defeat and I have to see an improvement in the next few matches.
“What makes it even more disappointing is the fact we could play Hailsham in the Peter Bentley Cup semi-finals.
“We have conceded 14 times and scored twice against them this season, so should we meet, then they will go into the contest with a huge psychological advantage.”
Mullets’ Liam Da Costa put through his own net nine minutes before the break to gift the home side the lead.
Arundel’s response was almost immediate, though, as Alex Biggs levelled four minutes later.
The first 15 minutes of the second period were even, before three goals in seven minutes put Hailsham in control.
Sam Divall got his first on 59 minutes to put Hailsham ahead and it was 3-1 less than a minute later when Danny Leach struck.
Leach then capped off a crazy seven-minute spell with his second of the game.
The frontman completed his hat-trick with 14 minutes left to make it 5-1, before Arundel pulled a goal back on 80 minutes through Scott Tipper.
That was as good as it was to get for the Mullets, though, as Divall completed a second hat-trick for Hailsham with strikes in the 87th and 89th minutes.
Arundel have a fourth successive away league game when they travel to Ringmer on Saturday. Mullets then entertain Lancing on Tuesday.
ARUNDEL: Marsden; L.Da Costa, Bibb, Peake, Walker, N.Da Costa; Jenkins, Thoms, Biggs; Boutwood, Tipper. Subs: Gardner (Walker), Grove (Boutwood), Pidgeon.