Altrincham paid the price for a start Phil Parkinson labelled “unacceptable” as they suffered a second defeat in three days at the Crown Oil Arena on Tuesday night after previously going 10 games without losing.

The Robins’ long run of wins and draws came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at Eastleigh on Saturday, and any hopes of bouncing back and launching another unbeaten sequence were soon dashed as Rochdale took an early lead and added two further goals in the second half for a 3-0 win.

To compound Alty’s misery, Chris Conn-Clarke missed out on the chance to equalise when his 33rd-minute penalty was saved, but it was the way they were caught cold at the outset that displeased Parkinson the most.

“I’ve made the lads very aware that in no way is it acceptable to start a game like that,” said the Alty boss. “Rochdale were far superior at the start, and credit to them for that, but we were abysmal in the opening exchanges, nowhere near the levels we would expect.

“We came into it after their first goal and got on top, and if the penalty had gone in, it could have been a different story. I still feel 3-0 was not reflective of the game, but they have been clinical in having four shots and scoring three goals.

“They have come down from the League, they have a stadium like this and they have expectations of being in the play-offs. They have flexed their muscles, and we haven’t stood up to it, which is disappointing. We didn’t want it enough on the night, which is something I haven’t said very often.”

Alty will be keen to return to winning ways at home to Solihull Moors on Saturday and are relishing a December 9 FA Trophy trip to FC Halifax Town, who pipped them on penalties in last season’s semi-final.

“It’s an opportunity to right a few wrongs at Halifax,” said Parkinson. “But first it’s Solihull - and that will be a barnstormer.”