Longridge Town manager Lee Ashcroft admitted his players had a day to forget when they were beaten 3-2 at Coppull United on Saturday.
After only one league game in seven weeks, the defending West Lancashire League Premier Division champions lost against a Coppull side who had conceded eight goals against Garstang a week earlier.
For good measure, Town also ended with nine men as both George Melling and Jordan Tucker were sent off during added time after Coppull had also seen a man sent off in the first half.
“It couldn’t have gone worse really,” Ashcroft said.
“We started poorly and the first half never got going.
“We can air our grievances at certain situations but it was the same for both teams, and we have to be better than that.”
Defeat leaves Town eighth in the table, though they have played a league-low nine games in contrast to the leaders, Blackpool Wren Rovers, who have played 15 games and are the same number of points clear of Town.
On paper it looks a tough challenge in trying to chase down Wrens and retain their title.
However, Town’s boss remains optimistic about their prospects.
Ashcroft said: “It’s a different league this season, probably not as strong to be honest.
“It took us 83 points to finally win it last year, a record points total, as ourselves and Wrens went head to head.
“However, we both lost players in the summer to higher levels and it will take nothing like that points total this year.
“I think this time it is a more level playing field and, if we can just stay in touch, I think there are probably four or five teams could win it.
“Hopefully we’ll be one of them.”
Town are back in action on Saturday when they host Hesketh Bank (2pm), looking to do the double after beating them at the end of August.