Corby Town suffered a second hammering in a week as their first home game for almost a month ended in a heavy 5-1 defeat to FC Halifax Town.
And, while the 6-1 loss at Harrogate Town could, and was, put in the “freak result” category, there were no excuses this time as Corby were put to the sword and ended up with the result a woeful performance deserved.
From start to finish the visitors were in control as their movement and passing proved too much for the hosts to handle. And perhaps the most worrying sight was the Corby defence again looking so fragile and capable of conceding every time Halifax attacked.
Steelmen boss Chris Plummer made just one change from the side that started the 6-1 defeat at Harrogate Town with Sam Ives recalled in place of Lewis Webb, who dropped to the bench.
Play-off chasing Halifax, who included former Kettering Town striker Gareth Seddon in their line up, were playing only their 18th league game of the season, mainly due to their good run in the FA Carlsberg Trophy.
But they wasted little time in renewing their pursuit of a top-five finish as they stormed into a 2-0 lead with the Corby defence looking far too fragile after their midweek hammering.
The game was just five minutes old when Paul Walker palmed a corner away at the near post but it fell to Sean Kelly who fired into the corner.
Plummer said after the defeat at Harrogate that he didn’t feel his side were returning to their old ways of conceding goals at regular moments.
But just five minutes after that opener, the defence opened up as a through-ball sent Lee Gregory clear and he calmly rolled the ball past Walker.
Ryan Semple tried to respond as he burst into the area and saw his shot blocked.
But it went from bad to worse for the Steelmen when, shortly after Seddon had shot just wide, Gregory was given too much space again and he brilliantly lobbed over Walker to make it 3-0.
Paul Malone headed wide at the other end but, in general, the Steelmen struggled to get any attacks going.
However, there appeared to be a small ray of hope three minutes before half-time.
Ives’ fierce strike proved too hot for visiting goalkeeper Matty Glennon to handle and Tom McGowan reacted quickest to score from close range.
But that hope was shortlived as Halifax made it 4-1 in stoppage-time when Gregory crossed from the right and found the unmarked Seddon who volleyed into the bottom corner.
Plummer threw on Francis Green in place of Marc Manga at the break and Malone headed wide from a Semple free-kick early in the second period.
But Walker needed to be at his best at the other end as he helped Halifax substitute Paul Marshall’s fierce drive over the bar.
The game turned into a non-event from there but Halifax still always looked the more likely to score another and so they did midway through the half as Walker was unable to stop Gregory from completing his hat-trick with a smart close-range finish.
Walker got down well at his near post to keep out Sean Williams’ shot but that was the last of the chances as Halifax comfortably saw the game out.
For Corby, there is much work to do to arrest the slide of the last two games because performances like this will only see them heading in one direction.
Steelmen: Walker; Horne, Malone, Piergianni, Crowe; Ives (sub Kaziboni, 76 mins), Wedderburn; Semple, McGowan, Moreman; Manga (sub Green, h-t). Subs not used: Richardson, Webb, Vieira.
FC Halifax: Glennon; Toulson, Hogan (sub Worsley, 49 mins), Kelly, Lowe; Needham, Williams, Platt; Seddon (sub Johnson, 68 mins), Gregory, Gardener (sub Marshall, h-t). Subs not used: Senior, Moke.
Referee: Alan Young.
Goals: Kelly (5 mins, 0-1), Gregory (10 mins, 0-2), Gregory (23 mins, 0-3), McGowan (42 mins, 1-3), Seddon (45 mins, 1-4), Gregory (66 mins, 1-5).
Bookings: Worsley, Moreman (both fouls)