Harrogate Railway manager Marlon Adams branded his side a “shambles” in the wake of a humiliating 9-1 defeat at Pickering Town.
The NCEL Premier Division strugglers made the trip to tackle the high-flying Pikes missing a number of key personnel, but capitulated in alarming fashion and were 6-0 down by half-time.
And Adams refused to use the absentees as an excuse, instead questioning the attitude and application of those who did take the pitch.
“We were a shambles from front to back. It doesn’t get much worse than that,” he said.
“In the first half we had no shape, no one was picking up, it was horrendous and Pickering deserved to be 6-0 up.
“I asked the players at half-time ‘where’s your commitment, your passion, your work-rate?’ and, to be the fair, the second half was better, but not much better.
“We had seven missing who are big players for us, but the 11 we had out there should be capable of more than a 9-1 paggering. They need to have a good, long hard look at themselves.”
Matty Turnbull headed home an Eddy Birch corner to hand the Pikes a 13th-minute lead, then repeated the trick less than 10 minutes later.
A fine one-handed save by visiting gloveman Mark Bower then denied ex-Rail winger George Eustance from close range but Ged Dalton forcedhome the loose ball for 3-0.
Pickering went four up in the 32nd minute as Ryan Blott’s strike from just outside the area was deflected past Bower, and Billy Logan was then left unmarked inside the six-yard box to head home number five soon afterwards.
Things got worse for Adams’ team in first-half stoppage time, Birch rifling in a stunning long-range effort for a 6-0 advantage at the break.
Railway improved after the interval and finally began to cause their hosts the odd problem in the final third.
With 58 minutes on the clock, Shane Hamilton showed great pace to accelerate onto a ball in behind the Pikes defence, nudged the ball past onrushing gloveman Charlie Andrew and finished into an unguarded net to trim the gap slightly.
Matt Mulvihill should then have added a second for the Starbeck club when we was played through on goal, only to scuff his strike well wide of the target.
Having seemingly taken their foot off the gas, Pickering were soon back into their stride and Blott forced home his second of the night from Logan’s low ball across the face of goal.
Logan then completed his hat-trick in the closing stages with a tap-in and a confident finish when one-on-one with Bower.
Railway will be looking to bounce back when they host Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.