If Huddersfield against Charlton Athletic was viewed by those fond of melodrama as a relegation clash, 90 minutes of play exposed that lie.
Huddersfield put five past a shell-shocked south London side, the first scored by former Addicks man Mark Hudson.
“It’s not good enough. It’s embarrassing,” said goalkeeper Stephen Henderson.
As if to complete a miserable night for Charlton, substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad got two yellow cards in little over a minute and was sent off in the 63rd minute.
The Terriers had lived up to their nickname with some fast, bamboozling passes leaving a clueless Addicks chasing the air – and picking the ball out the net.
The night underscored the need for direction and decision at the SE7 club, now firmly stuck in the relegation places. Interim manager Karel Fraeye must be clinging to the first word in his job title and, without answers or an upturn in form, looks likely to be counting down the days.
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Trooping off the pitch he looked like a haunted man. He had eight changes to Saturday’s FA Cup defeat against strugglers Colchester but it made little difference.
It was left to goalkeeper Henderson to apologise to the 150 or so fans who had travelled to Yorkshire to witness the drubbing.
He told the Charlton website : “Publicly, I’d like to apologise to our travelling fans for that shocking performance tonight.
“As you can imagine, the lads are lower than they could ever be in their careers right now. I feel numb. I know a few players aren’t able to speak after the game and that’s a position that I’ve not been in before.
“We need to be going out there to change this. Only we can do that. We’re the players on the pitch and we need to be doing better individually.”
Meanwhile the Addicks, three points and two places short of safety, travel to third-placed Hull on Saturday (January 16).
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