Barnoldswick Town endured a dismal afternoon at the Silentnight Beds Stadium on Saturday as they lost 6-1 against Runcorn Town.
On paper the hosts had a strong line-up, although new signing, from FC United of Manchester, Jack Tinney was unavailable due to an injury picked up midweek in training.
The match started well for the locals, Anthony Pollard feeding Joel Melia down the right, and his cross to the far post was dropped by Runcorn keeper Hayden Buckley-Smith, with Harry Thompson’s close-range shot from the rebound blocked.
Runcorn’s first attempt came from skipper Paul Shanley, who broke into the area and hit a fierce shot that Town keeper Scott Reid got a strong hand on.
Play was swinging from end to end, and in the 11th minute Melia broke away and played a great ball into the area, but Mark Threlfall, who appeared to have plenty of time, shot tamely at Buckley-Smith, who easily saved.
Runcorn went straight down the other end, Shanley firing in another shot that Reid tipped over for a corner. From the corner, the Town defence went to sleep, allowing the ball to go right across the face of goal, where Luke Gibson got ahead of the stationary Threlfall to score from close in.
Runcorn were looking the more likely to score next, and when the Town defence faied to clear another Runcorn corner, the ball fell at the feet of Garath Grant, who saw his shot blocked by Reid almost on the line.
And Runcorn did increase their lead after 27 minutes, as a throw-in on the left caught the defence napping, Curtis Cummins bearing down unmarked through the defence before seeing Reid off his line and curling a shot into the net.
Referee Nicholas Gibbons nearly cost the home team dearly on the half hour mark, when he managed to get in the way of a Town clearance.
The ball fell to Shanley, who crossed to Jack Irlam just inside the area, but fortunately for Town he side-footed wide of the far post.
Two minutes later Town pulled a goal back. Melia was pulled back a yard outside the area, and Martin Broderick blasted the free kick past the left hand side of the wall and just inside the right hand post of Buckley-Smith’s goal.
The start of the second half saw Runcorn nearly score a crucial third goal, Shanley again managing to get his shot past Reid, but there wasn’t enough power on it, allowing Kieron Lee to hack it off the line at the far post.
There then ensued a period when it looked like Town would pull the scores level.
Threlfall pushed the ball past a defender on 53 minutes, who appeared to bring him down inside the area - the referee waving away frantic appeals for a penalty, awarding a corner instead. From the corner the ball eventually fell to Threlfall who made a hash of his shot from six yards out.
At the other end, two corners in a row caused panic in the Town defence, Reid doing well to palm away another strong shot. And again on 58 minutes Reid saved another Shanley effort.
Runcorn got their third goal after 64 minutes. A free kick was given away on the left, and Shanley lashed a shot into the far top corner.
Six minutes later, Jake McEneaney gave away a penalty which Runcorn substitute Andrew Potter scored, firing the ball straight down the middle.
In the last four minutes Town conceded a further two goals from Shanley and Cummins to add salt to the wound.
Town are at Alsager Town tomorrow.