Four first half goals sent Tadcaster Albion back to the top of the table and gave ex-boss Paul Marshall a birthday to forget on his return to the i2i Stadium.
Marshall’s Pickering Town were undone by a lack of discipline at the back which allowed Jimmy Beadle to smash home two penalties in the 4-1 win.
Josh Greening started the rout on 11 minutes when he tucked home from six yards following a strong run down the right-wing by the impressive Josh Barrett.
Barrett’s cross deflected kindly into Greening’s path but Pickering’s back four will have been disappointed with the ease in which the right winger found his way into the area.
Greening was again involved as Tad earned their first penalty of the evening soon after. The frontman was clattered into after nudging the ball past former Taddy goalkeeper Arron Reid, and the referee awarded the spot-kick after Adam Baker’s resulting shot was cleared off the line.
Beadle, wearing the captain’s armband for a second time for Tad, powered the ball under Reid from 12 yards, making up for his late penalty miss that had seen his side fall to a 4-3 defeat at Barton Town Old Boys six days before.
The relentless pressure from the hosts continued with Jason Mycoe and Tom Claisse afforded too much space in midfield to lift a plethora of balls over the top.
And Albion’s third came from a well-worked move through midfield, which Baker sprinted goalwards from and the former Bradford City man swept into the bottom corner.
Beadle got his second opportunity from the spot when Josh Barrett made another fast burst down the right and was clipped inside the box. Another powerful spotkick from the skipper rifled into net and made it as good as game over.
Only the linesman’s flag prevented Taddy adding to their cushion before the break with some contentious calls halting the onrushing Baker and Greening.
The yellow-carded Baker was substituted for George Conway at half-time, and the replacement should have done better with an early opportunity after breaching the Pikes back line.
Pickering closed the space in midfield as the second half wore on and were able to carve out a number of opportunities to worry Albion.
Former Tad favourite George Bissett got on the end of a clever flick by Danny Gray, who had signed from the Brewers on Friday morning, but the midfielder flashed his shot wide.
Tad goalkeeper Gary Stevens was then required to pull off two firm saves, one which was hauled back with an off-side flag.
Pickering pulled one back midway through the half when Ryan Cooper slid a shot under Stevens’ belly from the edge of the box.
But that was to be the only scare the visitors could muster, with Stevens equal to another two efforts before the end.
With the win assured, Billy Miller was able to introduce former Pickering man Carl Stewart in the final stages for the first time since a summer knee operation.
Stewart is likely to be a key man as Miller attempts to mastermind a title bid and his return to fitness ahead of schedule could be as crucial as the three points.