FC Halifax Town hit six goals without reply, including three from Gareth Seddon, as they cruised to victory at lowly Droylsden.
The hosts were subjected to a tenth consecutive defeat as they failed to contain a rampant Town side who took advantage of the hosts’ brittle back-line.
Seddon helped himself to a hat-trick on his return to the side, while Jon Worthington also enjoyed a welcome reappearance by finding the net along with Alex Titchiner and Dan Gardner.
The former Droylsden man again sparkled for The Shaymen on his old stomping ground, which looked like it had been stomped on quite a lot recently, with mud the primary surface rather than grass in some spots.
But Halifax produced an assured performance to completely overpower their hosts and make it seem a little likelier that the Blue Square North may be separating these two teams next season.
Town saw three changes from the 3-3 draw against Histon last week, with Liam Needham and Worthington replacing Tom Platt and the suspended Chris Worsley in midfield, while Seddon came in for Lee Gregory up front.
One man whose name was probably first on the team sheet after his eye-catching display in that game was Titchiner, especially after his hat-trick heroics in the return fixture earlier in the season, and he swiftly made it two in two since his return to the club.
With only eight minutes on the clock, Needham’s cut back from the left touchline found the striker unmarked six yards in front of goal as he tapped in with ease.
Such generous defending with less than ten minutes gone suggested there could be another six goals flying in, but not necessarily as evenly spread as a week ago.
Titchiner was only denied a second a few minutes later by a good save from Dale Latham before Seddon’s overhead kick flew over from the rebound.
Town then broke from a Droylsden free kick as Titchiner took advantage of more pensive defending, but Paul Marshall wasted a great chance to double Town’s lead as he dragged a left-foot shot wide with half the goal gaping.
Droylsden’s attacking threat amounted to an albeit decent header from Joe O’Neill which Matt Glennon tipped behind, but the resulting corner was played straight behind for a goal kick.
That summed up the confidence-sapped display by the hosts, quite the opposite to the vibrancy flowing through the Town attacks as they seized the chance to all but wrap up the points before half-time.
A one-two between Needham and Seddon opened up a few yards of space for the forward, and his curling shot was rather cruelly deflected in over the helpless ‘keeper after 40 minutes.
Soon afterwards, Gardner produced the kind of brilliance the Butchers Arms faithful had been treated to on a regular basis not so long ago as The Shaymen edged further clear.
Gardner’s jinking run across the edge of the box was preceded by a superb low shot into the bottom right corner of the net as Town seemed to disappear over the horizon in the space of three first-half minutes.
Halifax must have looked a mere speck in the distance to Droylsden by now, but the hosts showed some spirit after the restart when first O’Neill then Stefax Cox forced saves from Glennon.
But any hopes Droylsden had of launching an improbable comeback were well and truly ended as Seddon confidently rounded Latham and teased the despairing defenders before stroking in Town’s fourth.
The ranks of Town fans now bunched behind the Droylsden goal then had a fifth to celebrate just before the hour mark as Worthington marked his return to the side by sweeping in Scott McManus’ low cross from the left.
Speculative shots from substitutes Sean Williams and Tom Platt didn’t threaten another goal for the visitors, but there was still a cherry on the cake left to come.
It took a while for Town to complete the rout, but Seddon found it was well worth waiting for as he tapped in Gregory’s pass across the box with five minutes remaining.
Droylsden: Latham, Killeen, Logan, Palmer, Kerr, Ahmed (Chalmers 70), Rick, Hall (Holden 54), O’Neill, Rouse (Ellison 54), Cox. Subs not used: Doherty, Langford.
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 2
Halifax: Glennon, Toulson, McManus, Hogan, Needham, Lowe, Worthington (Williams 58) Marshall (Platt 76), Titchiner (Gregory 69), Gardner, Seddon. Subs not used: Senior, St Juste.
Goalscorers: Titchiner (8), Seddon (40, 54, 85), Gardner (43), Worthington (58)
Shots on target: 7
Shots off target: 7
Man of the match: Gareth Seddon