Wetherby Athletic’s four-match unbeaten run came to an end as they surrendered a 3-1 half-time lead on their way to defeat at Brighouse Old Boys.
Mark Forster’s West Yorkshire Premier Division strugglers are all but relegated following the 5-3 defeat to the top flight’s bottom side, languishing nine points from safety with just three games left to play.
Yet, things could have been all so different had the Tangerines capitalised on a strong first-half showing.
Despite their starting XI featuring a number of changes from their 1-1 midweek draw with Beeston St Anthony’s, Wetherby began brightly atBrighouse and Phil Milsom hit the woodwork early on.
The hosts snatched a 13th-minute lead following a counter-attack, but Josh Wilson levelled the scores nine-minutes later when he lifted the ball over a stranded goalkeeper from outside the box.
Taking control of the game, Athletic pushed Brighouse backwards and a flurry of corners led to Anthony Walsh powering a header into the back of the net in the 29th minute.
Wetherby went 3-1 up six minutes before the break when Wilson ran onto a ball that had spilt the home defence. Taking it round the Brighouse keeper, the ball took a slight deflection but rebounded back off the striker and he gleefully prodded it home from close range.
The hosts pulled a goal back just a minute into the second period and then two further goals in the space of eight minutes saw them go 4-3 up.
Athletic tried to rally but an fifth goal in the 86th minute ended the game as a contest.
“I’m very, very disappointed,” Forster reflected.
“We were 3-1 up and the game should be gone. We come out after half time and we haven’t got started.
“We’ve committed suicide by giving the worst back passes you will ever see and then Brighouse have got their tails up and come at us.
“We saw how to score goals in the first half and then we just stopped doing it.
“Just because we were 3-1 up, we shouldn’t have stopped playing the way that we had been, but we did.”