Tadcaster Albion’s title ambitions took a devastating blow when promotion favourites Brighouse Town smashed them for eight on Saturday.
Six first-half goals led to Albion’s heaviest league defeat in more than 15 years, as the Brewers lost 8-1 at the Dual Seal Stadium.
With defeat, Albion missed a chance to retake top spot in NCEL Premier as Paul Marshall’s hopefuls remained in second.
“It was a freak result, played in freak conditions by a freakishly good performance by Brighouse and a very bad freakish performance by us,” said Marshall.
Nearby Garforth Town arrive at 2inspire Park this Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and Albion’s boss was keen to draw a line under their humbling.
Garforth held Albion to a dour goalless draw in August in the match that started Albion’s incredible 24-match unbeaten streak.
“It’s a great game to go back onto. A local derby,” he said.
“If you look where we were when we last played them, it’s been an amazing turnaround.
“We need to learn from the mistakes.”
Full-backs Josh Barrett will return, and Marshall was hopeful Will Pepper or George Bissett could also be available.
Albion have also re-signed Paul James, who has amassed more than 500 appearances for the club.
Barrett’s absence against Brighouse created a defensive shortcoming and captain Nick Thompson was forced to fill in at right-back.
However, Marshall’s tactical gamble failed, and, against a blustery wind, his side went 5-0 down within 25 minutes.
Town forward Tom Matthews led the scoring with a first-half hat-trick as Tad only had Danny Critchlow’s second-half goal to cheer.
Marshall said: “Too many players didn’t perform. We were all over the place.
“It was one of those days you get in a blue moon.”
Brighouse are playing catch-up in the NCEL Premier, but their significant victory brought them ten points behind Albion with seven games in hand.
But Marshall dismissed the result meant Brighouse were now undoubted favourites to take the league title.
“There’s still a lot of twists and turns left in this season,” he added.
“We have to move on quickly.”
Albion will also travel to Division One side Eccleshill United on Wednesday night in the League Cup third round.
Marshall confirmed he would field several of the club’s youngsters.
lAlbion are offering free tickets to Tadcaster Grammar School pupils and their families for Saturday’s match against Garforth.