A first-half defensive horror show was to blame as Kettering Town slipped to a 4-1 defeat at Redditch United to move ever-closer to relegation from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.
The hosts, who have also struggled this season, took a 3-0 lead into the half-time break and, although the Poppies replied through Jamie Griffiths in the second half, the damage was all done in that opening period.
The loss means Kettering have equalled the club record of nine consecutive league defeats, a record which was set earlier this season.
Poppies boss Thomas Baillie handed a first start to former Gresley Rovers man Louis Hamilton and Ash Talbot started in goal after Yannick Nlate’s departure to Droylsden.
Former Kettering men Calum Flanagan and Liam McDonald were included in the hosts’ starting line-up.
And it was Redditch who started the better with Jermaine Hylton getting in behind the defence and skipping past Talbot. The lively striker found George Washbourne but he dragged his shot wide.
Within seconds, Kettering could have been in front themselves as debutant goalkeeper Paul Maynard dallied on the ball. Lewis Wilson robbed him but the stopper recovered to palm the final shot away for a corner.
Hylton should have scored when he battled his way through a couple of challenges and found himself with just Talbot to beat. But he poked his effort wide of the post.
The warning signs were there for Kettering and Talbot saved from Leavi Oshungbure before the hosts took the lead on 23 minutes.
A ball was played back into the area after being half-cleared and Asa Charlton was allowed to turn on the edge of the six-yard box and blast into the roof of the net.
It was a scrappy affair after that and, although they created nothing, Kettering were well in the game.
But it unravelled for them before half-time as some awful defending helped Redditch move into a commanding 3-0 lead.
McDonald’s free-kick was headed back across goal and William Richards was unchallenged at the far post as he volleyed home.
And it got worse. This time, a corner from the left dropped under the crossbar. Talbot got a soft hand on it and it eventually fell to Richards who forced it over the line from close range.
The second period proved to be a lot more low key.
Kettering had plenty of possession without really threatening, although Wilson tested Maynard with a long-range effort.
But they did get a lifeline with 13 minutes to go when Wilson was released in the area and unselfishly squared for Jamie Griffiths to beat Maynard.
Wilson sent a volley just wide soon after and that would have made things interesting had it found the back of the net.
But there was to be no final flourish for the Poppies and Redditch rounded it off in stoppage-time when Washbourne’s free-kick found its way in as Richards ran in front of Talbot.
It was a fitting finish to yet another miserable afternoon for Kettering.
Redditch: Maynard; Moran, Charlton, Hickman (sub Quaynor, h-t), Flanagan; Oshungbure, Hands, McDonald, Washbourne; Hylton (sub West, 63 mins, sub Deards, 74 mins), Richards. Subs not used: Catlow, Costello.
Poppies: Talbot; Johnston, Crowie, Eze, Fox; Hamilton, Hicks, Logan (sub Noubissie, 60 mins), Ford, Griffiths; Wilson. Subs not used: Glen, Bradshaw, King, Roggero.
Referee: Marc Perry.
Goals: Charlton (23 mins, 1-0), Richards (39 mins, 2-0), Richards (42 mins, 3-0), Griffiths (77 mins, 3-1), Washbourne (90 mins, 4-1).