Kettering Town suffered a miserable afternoon in Dorset as they were were beaten 4-1 at Dorchester Town in the Evo-Stik South League Premier.
The Poppies were boosted by the return of four key players with goalkeeper Paul White, Gary Mulligan and strike duo Aaron O’Connor and Rene Howe all included in the starting line-up.
But Kettering got off to a dreadful start and found themselves a goal down when good play from Sam Lanahan and Mohammad Baghdadi released Billy Lowes and he lobbed the ball over White.
And it got even worse for the Poppies when Brett Solkhon was penalised for handball in the area and, even though White saved Lanahan’s spot-kick, the striker followed up to score from the rebound.
Kettering did finally create some chances late in the half with Rhys Hoenes’ shot being cleared off the line by Callum Rose before Gary Stohrer went even closer when, after an O’Connor shot had been saved, the midfielder’s effort struck the inside of the post before being cleared.
Brett Solkhon shot wide early in the second half but Kettering did give themselves hope when the ball fell to Howe after a corner and produced a composed finish.
However, the hope was short lived as David Jerrard slotted home Dorchester’s third.
Things got even worse when, having been on the pitch for less than two minutes, Marshall Willock was sent-off for a late challenge.
And the misery was complete late on when Baghdadi cut in and scored into the bottom corner.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ good form in the Evo-Stik South League East continued as they claimed a 4-0 victory over Northwood at Hayden Road.
Andy Peaks made three changes to the team that beat Kettering Town in the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup in midweek with Liam Dolman, Tom Lorraine and Richard Bunting all being restored to the starting line-up.
Diamonds made the early running and Ben Farrell had a good effort saved by Brendan Hazlett before the Northwood goalkeeper also denied Ryan Robbins at his near post.
The visitors grew into the game and Harry Newman headed over but Diamonds finished the half strongly with Hazlett tipping a Lorraine header over the crossbar just before the break.
But Diamonds took control after half-time and they took the lead in spectacular style when Richard Bunting sent a volley into the corner after Hazlett had punched a cross clear.
It was 2-0 nine minutes later and this time a long ball over the top was touched down by Lorraine for Ben Farrell to shoot into the top corner.
A spell of three goals in 14 minutes was rounded off when Luke Fairlamb’s low cross was only cleared as far as Sam Brown who slotted home.
And there was time for more as substitute Ben Diamond produced an excellent run which ended with him firing home from 18 yards.