Manager Ben Smith criticised Herne Bay’s naive mentality after their homecoming fell flat on Tuesday.
Having played three “home” games at Ramsgate, they played their first match on their new 3G pitch against Hornchurch - but the new Isthmian Premier leaders beat Smith’s side 6-0.
The result leaves Bay bottom of the table and boss Smith, whose team shipped four goals at Margate the previous midweek, didn’t mince his words.
“It was men against boys, our mentality was a very naive mentality,” he said.
“We played some great football but what did it get us? It got us nowhere, it got us minus six goals.
"Actually, we were not as bad as we were at Margate, which says a lot but, off the ball, our mentality was awful.
“It’s maturity - on all levels. They were very happy to just sit there and then pounce on us and we kept making the same mistakes over and over again.”
Bay had earned four points from their first four league fixtures and have beaten league rivals Horsham in the FA Cup but have just one clean sheet this campaign - earned during Sunday’s FA Cup Second Qualifying Round 2-0 win over Ashford which came through goals from Jack Parter and Kieron Campbell.
Smith added: “It’s a long season but, if we keep doing that, it’s going to get harder.
“We’ve shown we can play well in games but that papers over the cracks saying that right now. We were too easy to play against, it’s as simple as that. We were too easy to play against last Tuesday night.
“We had too much for Ashford - it was great, everyone enjoyed it and had a really good day - but we were too easy to play against on Tuesday and the lack of resilience in the team stood out like a sore thumb.
“[There was] a real lack of men to be brutally honest.”
Smith concedes starting life on their new surface with a defeat was particularly disappointing but also praised Hornchurch.
He added: “Let’s have it right, we were not the favourites for the game at all. But our mentality should be ‘Well, let’s show why we should have been favourites’.
"We are not writing ourselves off in these games but three breakaway goals in the first half, it’s shocking.
“Let’s talk about how bad we were defensively as a team but fair play to them. They saw a weakness and pounced on it.
“Sometimes when a team gets thumped, you talk about how bad they were. [But] they were clinical and they gave us a lesson on being ruthless.
“Even Sunday, we had opportunities to do [to Ashford] what they did to us, but we couldn’t manage that because our mentality isn’t quite where it needs to be.”
Smith feels the club’s long-term future still looks bright, with new seats also having been installed in the dug-outs as well as their new surface.
“Long-term, the club is going places. It’s as simple as that,” he admitted.
“Whether we or the players are here in 10 years’ time, the club is going somewhere. The plans that have been part of us driving forward don’t end at a 3G pitch.
“We maybe got promotion a year too soon but you never turn down a promotion. That makes it difficult this year for us but that’s why we are here, and we’ll work incredibly hard to try and make it a positive season.”
Striker Rory Smith, who had been on dual-registration with Deal, is back with Herne Bay while midfielder Helge Orome is also back having missed recent matches while he was away representing England at the six-a-side Socca World Cup in Hungary.
Playmaker Eddie Allsopp is now at Bowers & Pitsea, where he has re-united with boss James Collins, and full-back Frankie Morgan has signed for Isthmian South East side Sheppey.
Herne Bay visit third-placed Aveley this Saturday before they visit VCD on Tuesday in the Kent Senior Cup, a match which could see them face popular former goalkeeper George Kamurasi.
“We have a run of five very difficult league games. It could get worse before it gets better but we have to work to get some positive results,” Smith said.
“They don’t become bad players overnight. I think Horsham are a great side in this league and we beat them.”