THE THRASHING at Bishop Sutton on Saturday was the final straw for Barnstaple Town manager Dave Griffiths.
He resigned after the 7-0 defeat, which saw Barnstaple's winless run in the Toolstation Western League premier division extend to ten games.
Griffiths came to the club's aid in the summer when Peter Buckingham quit as manager without taking charge of a match.
But with a limited budget, he has found attracting players of Western League standard extremely difficult.
Griffiths said: "I have tried everything I can to get players in from North Devon and they just will not come. I have basically run out of ideas.
"My list of about nine regular players has gone back to six or seven with Kyle Bassett and Roger Ingham going and Liam Dart injured. I'm just at a loss as to where I can get players."
Griffiths has been forced to rely on players at other clubs helping out when they have not had a game.
"I have basically been looking at the Journal on a Thursday to see the fixture list, thinking, 'They haven't got a game, I can pull them'," he said. "Is that a way to build a Western League side?
"I do feel I have done my job.I have kept the football club going and there's a future. If we had finished on the day Peter went, there probably wouldn't be a club in Barnstaple. There's a chance for somebody else to come in and get enough points to keep them up."
Barnstaple are three points adrift at the bottom of the premier division.
After the 10-3 defeat at Bishop Sutton in the Les Phillips Cup, the return to Somerset was equally painful.
New signing Jamie Densham was expected to join the squad but after a setback in his recovery from a broken arm he informed Griffiths he was still a few weeks away from playing again.
After two players pulled out on the morning of the game, it was the usual last-minute dash to call on favours.
Danny Jenkins, from Torrington, and Sam Woodin, from Exmouth Town, both went into the line-up alongside Jack Furzer, the Bideford defender.
An injury to Darren Rose meant former Holsworthy player Adam Fuller, from Callington, played in goal.
"On paper, we had a very good side," said Griffiths. "It was the strangest game of football you will ever see. We were 1-0 down inside three minutes and then we absolutely dominated the first half."
Jenkins and Jamie Micklewright, on loan from Exeter City, both squandered chances before Sutton scored their second on the stroke of half time.
"In the second half we folded like a pack of cards," said Griffiths. "They just walked through us. Some of the goals in the last ten minutes were embarrassing.
"Every goal that goes in is like having a knife stabbed into you.
"I realised during that game that of the five or six regulars who have been there this season, half of them are going to have to be replaced.
"Now the pitches have become wet, they haven't got the physical capacity to get through it."
Micklewright compounded the problems by getting sent off for kicking out with the team trailing 4-0.
Despite optimism from supporters at the club meeting last Thursday, when new chairman Warren Crossley was introduced, Griffiths did not share the enthusiasm.
"Behind the scenes, things are a lot more positive," he said. "There's something about the whole atmosphere, the new reign, I don't think I would have fitted in.
"At the meeting everybody was so positive but I can't be positive.
"Hand on heart, the way the club is set up now, we can't remain in the Western League."
Griffiths insisted his first experience of management at that level had not put him off.
Crossley said: "Our thanks to Dave for carrying out the role as manager in such testing circumstances and we wish him all the very best."
Applications for the post of manager should be made in writing to the club at Mill Road, Barnstaple, EX31 1JQ, by Friday, November 30.