Paul Cook was screaming ‘tighter’ from the touchline but only a brick wall would have stopped rampant Oxford as what should prove to be his last away game as Stanley boss was the worst show of his brief managerial reign.
After hitting the heady heights of an automatic promotion spot earlier in the season, the Reds have fallen down the league and, like in previous games, they once again gave themselves a mountain to climb on Saturday.
Oxford were 2-0 up within 24 minutes and three by 36 and it was nothing more than they deserved with former Middlesbrough man Tom Craddock celebrating what he will view as a comfortable hat-trick.
Cook has changed his backline a number of times – some because of illness, injuries and suspensions but other times to try to stop leaking the goals they have of late but this was the worst show of the season so far and it could have been a lot worse but for goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin and Oxford missing at least one sitter.
Chris Wilder’s side had had an indifferent start to their campaign but once the opposition have taken the lead, the Reds have never won this season and Oxford were given a leg up with the early goals and then Stanley fell apart.
Cook had admitted he would prefer to do after-match press conferences later when he has had time to reflect and maybe look at incidents but Football League rules dictate the management must speak after a game.
But the Reds boss kept it short and sharp as his players left the pitch with heads bowed and shoulders slumped.
Cook said: "You have to pay a lot of respect to the opposition. To say we’re hurting is an understatement. It’s not good enough.
"People have travelled a long way to support us and the only reason I’m speaking is out of respect to those supporters.
"But I can’t offer an explanation. We are a group though. We win together and we lose together. I’m not talking about the game, I’m just saying a few words out of respect to our supporters."
The rout started in the 12th minute as Stanley failed to clear their lines and Craddock fired home from 15 yards with the ball squirming under Dunbavin’s body.
A weak headed backpass from Winnard on 24 minutes was seized upon by Craddock, who fired low past the Reds keeper at his near post.
Stanley just couldn’t contain Alfie Potter, James Constable and Craddock – they were all over the backline.
It was soon three when Tony Capaldi’s ball in bounced around the area. Dunbavin kept out a Constable shot but Craddock made the match ball his by completing his 36-minute hat-trick.
Lee Molyneux was unlucky to see his fierce drive hit the upright before half-time but after the break it was more of the same with Craddock adding a fourth and Sean Rigg missing a sitter from four yards out.
Dunbavin made more saves but, with more than 10 minutes still to endure for the Reds, Potter fired home the fifth in a day to forget.