Portsmouth FC reached a new low tonight after being knocked out of the FA Cup by a non-league team for the first time in their history after defeat to Aldershot Town.
Once again, Pompey could only produce a competent performance for 45 minutes having been the better side in the first half after an end-to-end start to the game.
Jack Whatmough had to get his body in the way of a Joe Oastler effort in a frantic start but the visitors soon took control and Aldershot's defence had to scramble a couple of balls clear, whilst Phil Smith produced a great save to stop Jed Wallace's volley from going in.
That was the best of the action from a Pompey point of view, however, as Andy Awford's men didn't turn up in the second half and their Conference opponents showed more desire to win second balls and create more chances with Pompey offering very little up front in a scrappy second half.
The warning signs were there as Mark Molesley headed wide when he should have hit the target whilst Brett Williams forced Paul Jones into a superb one-handed save after the Pompey defence had let him go.
There were creaks showing in the Portsmouth back line when Paul Robinson and Whatmough were booked for late challenges and the team crumbled on 81 minutes when some atrocious defending from a corner eventually saw Molesley score from close range after a catalogue of errors in the box.
With only minutes left, Pompey never looked like equalising with just a Patrick Agyemang run on goal which was blocked in stoppage time to be excited about.
The final whistle blew to confirm yet another FA Cup defeat at the first hurdle for Pompey and an embarrassing exit to their Hampshire counterparts. The defeat marks the first time Pompey have lost to non-league opposition in a competitive match and is a new low for the club.
Andy Awford's future at Pompey is now seriously being called into question. The dressing room cameras after the match showed him being disconsolate in the corner of the room whilst Alan McLoughlin was giving the bollocking rightfully deserved after such a shameful second half showing.
Is that a sign of a broken man? Is it all his fault? It's difficult to understand how Awford can go from the messiah last season to someone who seems completely out of his depth now. Guy Whittingham was sacked for less than this last season and you wonder what the board are thinking at this current moment in time.
It may not even be Awford's fault. How many of the players in his squad can hold their heads high right now? There is a severe lack of leadership and fight in this team, not to mention the lack of organisation at the back and creativity up front. This club deserves better.
Awford may well survive tonight but even if he does then a defeat to either Morecambe on Saturday or at Tranmere the following week will surely see him go and that would end another sad chapter for a man held in such high regard by everyone in Portsmouth not so long ago.
The worst feelig of all, however, is that we thought that we had been through the worst of it with threats of going bust, consecutive relegations and a flirt with non-league football in recent years. But after tonight's result, we're still suffering.
Pompey Player Ratings
Paul Jones: 6 - One great save and could do nothing about the goal.
Alex Wynter: 4 - Send him back to Palace. Not good enough for league football.
Jack Whatmough: 5 - Still has a long way to go.
Paul Robinson: 4 - Could well have been sent off again for a series of clumsy challenges.
Nicky Shorey: 5 - A slight improvement on Saturday's horror show.
Jed Wallace: 6 - Had a shot saved and was wrongly called offside.
Danny Hollands: 4 - Poor once again.
Nigel Atangana: 5 - Still unconvincing.
Ricky Holmes: 6 - Tried to make things happen.
Ryan Taylor: 4 - No influence on the game.
Craig Westcarr: 3 - Constantly offside. No tactical brain whatsoever.
Ben Chorley (Whatmough 76): N/A - Brought on to ensure Whatmough wasn't sent off and yet Pompey conceded within minutes of his arrival...
Patrick Agyemang (Taylor 82): N/A - One late chance which was blocked.
Miles Storey (Westcarr 82): N/A - No impact.