Harrogate Railway conceded five times in each half on their way to a 10-1 defeat at NCEL Premier Division leaders Cleethorpes Town.
The loss was the men from Station View’s 10th in their last 11 league games and was described by manager Ray Green as a “mauling.”
“Cleethorpes are by far the best team I’ve seen in this division and I had my weakest side out on the pitch since I took over,” he said.
“We had so many players missing again and I had to play a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old at centre-half.
“The result was probably inevitable and it was really a case of damage limitation. We set out with a plan to sit deep and try and frustrate them and stay in the game as long as we could, but conceding so early on made that difficult.
“The lads did the best they could, but it just wasn’t enough. We didn’t have the experience to cope with Cleethorpes and it became a mauling in the end.”
Cleethorpes took the lead with just three minutes gone and struck another four times before the interval.
The second period didn’t get much better for the Railwaymen as Town continued to dominate and the usually reliable Steve Bromley missed the chance to reduce the deficit when he saw a spot-kick saved by Liam Higton.
The title-chasers had reached double figures before lone striker Roy Fogarty finally gave Railway something to smile about, finishing well after being sent clean through on goal.
Defeat sees the gap between Green’s side and the relegation zone cut to just seven points following another victory for resurgent Parkgate.
The Railwaymen return to action on Good Friday when they host second-placed Pickering Town, 2.30pm kick-off.