FIVE goals conceded and a defence at sixes and sevens, writes Mark Jenkin.
The numbers did not look good for Ilfracombe Town with a 5-0 defeat to Buckland Athletic in their first home game of the season.
Dan Griffiths scored twice and Danny Gaze, Jamie Micklewright and Ellis Laight completed a comprehensive win for the slick South Devon visitors on Tuesday night.
An inexperienced Ilfracombe side were carved apart as soon as they conceded the opening goal to Griffiths on 38 minutes.
Even at this early stage of the season it was a worrying collapse from a team sorely missing the defensive leadership of players like James Mayne, Karl Baggaley and Gary Skinner.
Having made a solid start in each of their first two fixtures, Ross Middleton, the player-manager, will be concerned by two defeats brought on by second-half slumps.
Ilfracombe will wonder what might have been had Jamie Bright been able to put away the game's first decent chance.
Paired together up front, the Paxton brothers – Stan and Frank – linked expertly as Bright burst forward from midfield, only to drag his shot wide.
When a similar opportunity arrived at the other end, Buckland were ruthless.
Instantly controlling a pass over the top, Griffiths beat Kurtis Parkin with a low drive on the run.
All evening the back three of Craig Allan, Lewis Ovey and Middleton looked uncomfortable when the ball was played in behind.
It happened again for the second goal when Allan fluffed his attempted header and compounded his mistake by bringing down Micklewright for a penalty.
Gaze, the captain, slammed the spot kick past Parkin with minimum fuss and suddenly Buckland were in control.
They might have put the game out of reach before half time when a looping header came back off the crossbar.
But Griffiths made sure 12 minutes after the restart with an explosive run and finish, jinking in from the right to crash a left-footed shot across goal into the top corner.
The fourth goal came in similar style, this time Micklewright matching his mate with a run in from the wing and a swipe of the left foot.
Ilfracombe's misery was complete when Middleton and Frank Paxton were caught in possession and Laight, the former Bideford striker, headed the fifth.
At the age of 37, Laight showed he still has something to offer in the Western League.
Unfortunately for Ilfracombe their more experienced players were missing and they cannot return soon enough.
"I have got nine defenders signed on and only three fit," said Middleton.
The manager is taking encouragement from the first-half displays in this defeat and the 3-1 loss at Bristol Manor Farm on Saturday.
"We have got to take the positives from the two first halves," he said.
"We have played really well and created chances against two good teams."