HANDS thrust deep in pockets, Gary Bowyer watched motionless as CJ Hamilton advanced on City’s goal.

The winger’s shot flew narrowly over the bar. Further humiliation, if that was possible, was averted.

But Bowyer did not bat an eye lid. A passive spectator of a worryingly passive performance.

Inside, he will have been raging. But there was no obvious flicker of emotion from the Bantams boss while his team continued to flounder.

The fans behind the goal to his left were not so reluctant at coming forward. They had been airing their feelings on and off since the first angry rendition questioning Bowyer’s footballing methods half an hour in.

By that time, City were a goal down and already bereft of any sign of resistance. Feeble acceptance of defeat against a team who had not won at home for three months.

Mansfield had last tasted victory at Field Mill on October 12; coinciding with the last occasion that City triumphed on the road.

Memories of that group hug in the Morecambe sunshine after Aramide Oteh’s goal seem a lifetime away.

The cold reality of now is a team – and it’s stretching it to call them that on this shocking evidence – playing without confidence and any ideas.

The travelling Bantams army turned their guns on Bowyer. “Get out of our club” and “You’re getting sacked in the morning” were two of the more printable choruses as the 1,467-strong support reached the end of their tether.

If Crawley a fortnight earlier had been grim, this was plunging to a new subterranean level.

Mansfield had picked up just eight points from their previous 14 home games. Eight away teams have already won there.

Only two others in the division have conceded more goals. But City failed to register a single shot on target.

Mansfield keeper Bobby Olejnik might as well have spent his afternoon taking advantage of the romantic dining experience that the club’s announcer was so keen to keep plugging.

Don’t point the finger at Eoin Doyle and Shay McCartan, the two unfortunates effectively hung out to dry in City’s attack.

Doyle was once more a desolate figure; underused and under-appreciated by team-mates seemingly incapable of providing even a fraction of the service that Swindon were serving up on a plate.

Look at the goal that Hallam Hope scored on his debut for the league leaders; a close-range carbon copy of the bulk of the Irishman’s 23 during his loan spell from Heaven.

Doyle’s parent club, though, limited his supply to hopeful high balls that were inevitably swallowed up by Mansfield’s taller and far more physical centre halves.

McCartan fared no better, his desperation to see some sort of action resorting to snatchy shots from distance that never threatened to disturb Olejnik’s peace.

The pair did manage to provide a couple of the better crosses, McCartan bouncing one on the top of the bar in the second half, but Dylan Connolly was twice caught on his heels when he should have anticipated an opportunity.

Connolly had City’s best/only genuine sight of goal just four minutes in but dallied enough in taking a touch to control that Malvind Benning could slide across with a brave block.

After that, the winger became increasingly ineffective; his slump in form mirroring that of many around him.

Harry Pritchard was no better on the other side on his much-anticipated return.

At least, he was prepared to stick his head above the social media parapet afterwards to compare City’s efforts with something you tread in.

The response from the rest was as mute as they had been during the game.

The most animated reaction came from Luke McGee racing 25 yards from his goal to berate Adam Henley after the full back tamely allowed his man to run unchecked into the box.

There was also the sight of Anthony O’Connor and Ben Richards-Everton, the soft centre of a sorry back four, locked in a heated argument after both had let Andy Cook through the gap to score Mansfield’s third.

But for the most part, it was the sound of silence; an absence of any voice to command, cajole or just generally remind those in white of their obligations of representing this famous club.

Those fans venting their spleen expected a team who wanted to win or at least to care as much as they did. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

They were not prepared to accept a gutless surrender that reeked of the 5-0 at Blackpool under Simon Grayson or that Easter shocker when Peter Jackson’s City rolled over against Accrington.

So where does this leave City – and Bowyer?

A Twitter wag referred to Mansfield’s home as the One McCall Stadium and the prospect of the prodigal son returning for a third managerial stint has become an increasingly regular topic of conversation.

Bowyer had begun the week pre-Colchester talking about their stability and how the other teams at the top had benefited from giving the boss time.

He ended it with those abusive songs ringing in his ears and his future at Valley Parade in the spotlight.

On one hand it seems ridiculous to be throwing the post-match question at a manager who has lost only seven games in 29. City are still, after all, occupying a play-off berth – if only by an increasingly narrow margin.

But it is becoming clear that he has lost a large chunk of the fans.

The considerable work in patching back together a relationship ripped apart by the madness of Edin Rahic is rapidly falling apart at the seams.

The warning lights have been flashing since Leyton Orient; the Boxing Day protests at Carlisle were magnified in Mansfield.

Cheltenham, two points behind with two games in hand, provide watershed opposition this week. Valley Parade will offer no hiding place.

The goals, for those gluttons for punishment, were pitifully soft once more.

The one unit of the team that Bowyer could rightly be proud of up to this point disintegrated as it had done against Crawley and Scunthorpe.

Mansfield’s first came from a long cross by debutant Joe Riley. Nobody dealt with it and Danny Rose climbed above the taller O’Connor to nod home.

Number two again came from the air with no one anywhere near Nicky Maynard from a corner.

City saved the worst until last as Cook allowed Benning’s throw-in to run across his body unchallenged before shooting past McGee through two static defenders.