Ardley's men have now won just once in their past nine games and despite creating a couple of chances in a second-half push against the Gulls they were second best for long periods.
Ardley refused to pull any punches, accepting his side were chasing shadows for much of the game.
"I'm dumbfounded about this performance," said Ardley after the 2-0 loss.
"We turned up and 15 minutes in I was seeing players who looked as though they didn't have an ounce of energy or enthusiasm about them.
"When you can only make three substitutions it's really hard when you've got 10 players who are so woefully off their game.
"We lost every battle over the pitch. You could see the goals coming and sometimes it's really hard to fathom out why that happened.
"We didn't make one good clearance all game - we didn't get one past the halfway line. Our passing was off, we didn't look like we were going to win any headers against their strikers or against their defenders, and we didn't look like we had a run off the ball.
"That might have been emphasised by the fact that they were really at it for their new manager but that's not acceptable. We've got to match that and wear it down before start playing our game and showing our skill. I'm at a loss as to what to make of that performance."