Lynn surrendered their last chance of a cup run with defeat at Maidenhead on Saturday in the FA Trophy.
It was not even a defeat with honour, for this was a bad performance and probably the worst ever by the club in this particular competition.
Yes, the bumpy pitch was a disgrace, making River Lane field look like Wembley's surface; yes, the referee did make some decisions which frustrated all 22 players. But the inescapable fact is that Maidenhead were a poor side and yet they got the one goal to win. What does that make the Linnets?
There were faults in all departments of their game and the overall impression was one of a team with far too many players off form.
Supporters who made the long trip watched in disbelief at the catalogue of mistakes and once Maidenhead had scored
they seemed to realise the result was inevitable.
The Lynn boss, Keith Rudd, said later "I asked the team to play a simple long ball game on that sort of pitch, but instead they they play it tight and short.
When players cannot do what yon ask them to do. then you expect to lose.
"Obviously I am concerned with the way we are playing at the moment especially in midfield, and I ask the supporters to be patient while I try and put it right.
Maidenhead made the only two worthwhile goal attempts of the first half.
In the fourth minute full back Gary Huxley curled in a 20-yard kick which had John McPherson diving across the goal to palm away.
Then it was not until the 41st minute that Lance Cadogan swung in a good volley which hit the side netting with McPherson covering it all the way.
Lynn hadn't looked in too much danger, especially once Clive Adams settled in at the back on his return to the side in place of Steve Mercer.
But it was ominous that the Linnets had not made any threat on the Maidenhead goal.
The football would surely get better, we all thought. Well there was more to talk about and more involvement in each penalty area, but the bumpy and sparsely-grassed pitch prevented any good moves being built up.
Lynn did break forward twice in the first five minutes of the half. Russ Allen clipped over a cross to the far post where Paul Bartlett headed down and Martin Coupe was robbed as he tried to force the ball in; then it was Coupe breaking forward and he would have probably done better with a shot instead of a pass across goal behind Jim Kabia who could not turn and recover the chance.
Maidenhead then attacked on the left through Mark Franks, a fair-headed young winger who was more than a handful for Les McJannett. Franks got to the by-line, pulled back his centre and found CADOGAN at the near post who glanced 1n a header past McPherson.
It really was a goal out of nothing while just minutes before the Linnets had created better chances and made nothing of them.
The response from manager Keith Rudd was to pull off midfielder Allen and put himself on in an attacking role. Just after this, in the 61st minute, came Lynn's best effort of the game when Marty Wiles crossed from the left and Coupe's flick was turned over the bar by a reflex save from the keeper.
Rudd's presence did seem to bring some order to the Lynn play but it was still very patchy. When Colin Foster drove a 20-yarder over the bar in the 75th minute, it was the first direct shot towards goal the Linnets had put in.
The eventual defeat means that the Linnets are now out of all four cup competitions (let's hope the Reserves fare better in their campaigns).
It's a sorry state of affairs, saved only by the fact that the Linnets do hold top position in the Southern League. Rudd is a first class coach and he has got some very good players but at the moment they are struggling: the test for Rudd is to bring the best out of the team to maintain the title
Maidenhead: Batty, Smith, Huxiey, Craker. North, Brown, Smith, Dennis, Williamson (sub Davies 68 mins), Cadogan, Franks.
Lynn: McPherson;, McJannett, Adams, Foster, Wiles, Bartlett, Watts, Allen (sub Rudd 59 mins), Easthall, Coupe, Kabla.
Referee: D. Kelly (Hemel).