A rampant Grimsby were the latest side to crush a beleaguered FC Halifax Town as they hammered The Shaymen 7-0 at Blundell Park.
It’s now 18 goals conceded in Halifax’s last four matches, a shocking ratio which simply must improve if they are to climb the table.
That ascent is looking steeper by the week.
Grimsby was one of the last places Town will have wanted to key into their SatNav, with the league’s second highest scorers before the game losing only once at home in 10 outings.
And Halifax simply couldn’t live with The Mariners, who capitalised on Halifax’s fragile morale and vulnerable defence to consign Town to their third awful defeat from four matches thanks to a brace from Omar Bogle, one from ex-Town man Craig Clay and a hat-trick and assist by Padraig Amond.
It was men against boys as Town’s season, unthinkable after Cheltenham, hit another new low, although you know things are bad when conceding seven goals is becoming a weekly occurrence.
Town’s squad list contained the numbers 35, 36, 37 and 39, emphasising the upheaval there has already been within the squad, and it’s only mid-October.
CJ Hamilton, one of four loanees in the side, made his first start for nearly a month
Another, Nicky Wroe, was given his first taste of action since Notts County’s 0-0 draw with Coventry on April 6; it said much about Town’s predicament that he was thrown straight in from the start.
And it wasn’t long before he discovered what being a Halifax players is like at the moment, as The Shaymen made it 25 games without a clean sheet.
Bogle started the season in fine style with seven goals in his first nine games, but hadn’t scored in his last seven appearances.
But his opener was unmissable after a superb hooked pass from Padraig Amond took out two Town defenders before Andy Monkhouse rolled the ball across to the unmarked striker.
Grimsby took that as their cue to pour forward with some slick, incisive passing.
Debutant Connor Townsend pushed up effectively from left-back, while Bogle was a Lee Gregory-esque presence up-front, holding the ball up well and bringing team-mates into play.
As Julian Banton had been for the first half-an-hour on Saturday, James Bolton was Town’s stand-out performer 30 minutes in here, which again said much about the pattern of the match.
Hamilton started right up-top for Town in an attempt to utilise his searing pace, but he rarely got a chance until Kingsley James capitalised on a sloppy pass and fed the youngster, before the ball eventually came back to James, who fired way over.
Bogle was on Town’s radar before joining Grimsby, and you could see why as he brushed off Matty Brown before shooting wide left-footed.
But a rare lapse from the striker gave Town possession in the centre-circle, from which Kieran Sadlier cut inside and curled a right-foot shot just shy of the far post.
But just as Halifax were starting to fight back, Grimsby added a second when Amond’s shot hit the bar after Bogle had headed off target, only for the ball to hit Matt Glennon and go in before the keeper could react.
It was difficult to argue on the balance of play but the timing will have slumped the visitors’ shoulders just as they’d have thought parity was possible.
Parity looked a long way off though by the time Bogle powered in his second and Grimsby’s third just before the break with a low, left-foot drive to beat Glennoon at his near post.
Even three minutes of added time at the end of the first-half seemed a tricky spell to negotiate, and so it proved as substitute Marcus Marshall’s cross from the left was side-footed in by Amond after a clever dummy by Bogle; Grimsby were starting to enjoy themselves.
The same could not be said for the 90 travelling Town fans, who had to ensure all four first-half goals going in at their end.
It was only Darren Kelly’s fourth game in charge, but he must’ve already been repeating himself during the half-time inquest, with poor defending remaining Town’s very painful Achilles heel.
The rout continued after the break when a long-ball was brilliantly flicked-on by Amond to Bogle, who showed superb awareness to play in Clay, who swept the ball home.
Kelly and Jim Harvey continued to contest any 50-50 challenges as the second-half dragged on, but mainly stood impassively on the touchline, perhaps contemplating the scale of their task.
Town’s response in an attacking sense was negligible, with Grimsby keeper James McKeown remaining a spectator as Amond beat Brown for pace to reach a long through ball before lifting his shot past the onrushing Glennon.
It was only then that a free-kick by Sadlier brought a save from McKeown before Amond nipped in behind a static defence and looped the ball over Glennon.
The fourth official then showed 20 minutes of added time instead of two on his board, but the Halifax fans had suffered enough without that.
Grimsby: McKeown, Tait, Pearson, Nsiala, Townsend, Monkhouse (Marshall 22), Clay, Disley (Brown 63), Arnold, Bogle (Tomlinson 71), Amond. Subs not used: Mackreth, East.
Scorers: Bogle (10, 42), Glennon (og 35), Amond (45, 77, 84), Clay (50)
Shots on target: 8
Shots off target: 8
Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, Brown, Banton, Roberts, James, Sadlier, Wroe, Hamilton, Burrow, Tuton (Macdonald 46). Subs not used: Porter, Bencherif, Hughes, Brooks.
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 4
Town man of the match: James Bolton