WIMBORNE Town manager Steve Cuss admitted Tuesday night's Dorset Senior Cup clash with Poole Town was over after 45 minutes – but praised his squad for preventing another collapse following Saturday's 7-0 trouncing at Paulton Rovers.
The Magpies trailed by a single goal as half time approached at Tatnum, before two quick goals from the Dolphins including a rocket from Keith Emmerson all but ended the contest.
"Crucially at 1-0, we had a couple of good chances and we didn't take them" explained Cuss.
"They are a ruthless team and they finished us off before half time. From 3-0 down, it was almost beyond us at that point."
The Magpies improved after the break, but with both sides accepting the inevitable – Wimborne were unable to get off the mark.
James Stokoe's sending off rounded off a bad night at the office as the striker was shown a straight red card for jumping in with two feet on Sam Clarke.
"I've got no complaints about it" added Cuss.
"I think he tried to pull out but once he jumps he's overstretched for the ball and it is probably a red card."
Poole wasted several half chances to add to their lead in the second half, but Wimborne closed down the strong Dolphins team well to prevent another embarrassment.
Cuss admitted morale has been low in the Wimborne dressing room this week – but has belief in his squad to get things back on track.
"We need to turn things around ourselves" explained Cuss. "I've got a good honest bunch and I know they will work hard.
"We've conceded too many goals and they have been poor goals as well. It's something I've got to look at.
"We have to defend better. It's not just the defenders, it's the whole side who have to work a little bit harder to close things down. The players know that and it's something we will be working on.
"We're sixth in the league, but the cup competitions haven't gone well for us. Ultimately, if we can get ourselves in those playoffs, then who knows what could happen at the end of the season. That has to be our target now."
Log onto www.blackmorevale.co.uk this weekend for live updates and reaction from Wimborne Town's game with Fleet Town.