FC Halifax Town slumped to a 4-0 defeat at Hartlepool United as their miserable run without a win goes on.
Nicky Deverdics and Liam Donnelly scored in the first seven minutes as Hartlepool found the net twice in a home game for only the second time this season.
Rhys Oates added a third after half-an-hour as Halifax were submerged in a flood of Pools goals, which then mercifully dried up until Conor Newton’s late effort.
Town’s last away win was over two months ago at Leyton Orient and this was about as far from that night in footballing terms as Hartlepool is geographically.
The result should be seen in the context of Town’s injury list, part-time status and vastly inferior budget to their hosts.
Surely all Shaymen supporters would have taken their current league position at the start of the season, and will surely take it at the season’s end, but Town need to start winning again; ten games without a win represents the longest stretch under Billy Heath since a victory.
No Matty Brown, no Martin Riley, no Michael Duckworth, no Ben Tomlinson, no Matty Kosylo. The fear was that meant no chance for Heath’s depleted and out-of-form squad.
The saving grace was Hartlepool’s own poor form of one win in six and no goals in nearly five hours.
But that run never did get to five hours, while Town never looked like ending their run without a win.
Top of Heath’s to-do list was surely not concede early, so Deverdics’ fourth-minute opener will have left the Town boss fuming, especially the ease with which it came as the left-back played a superb one-two, charged through the suddenly non-existent Halifax defence and slotted past Sam Johnson.
Heath’s luck continued to be all bad as referee Joseph Johnson, who had already controversially dismissed Scott Garner against Bromley, then harshly adjudged the Town captain to have pushed Rhys Oates in the penalty box, and Liam Donnelly scored from the spot. If only Halifax could do that.
Seven minutes on the clock, two shots and two goals. For the third time in two games, The Shaymen were two goals behind.
It was nearly three in embarrassing fashion when goalkeeper Scott Loach’s long kick almost bounced over Johnson and straight in.
A pitch invader then ran across the turf from one side to the other; if Hartlepool had given him the ball he’d probably have scored as well.
Just when the storm appeared to have subsided, Oates finished coolly past Johnson from 12 yards after a brilliant run by Michael Woods through a befuddled Town defence.
The Halifax midfield was missing a stopper in the Nathan Hotte mould, and was completely overwhelmed by the hosts, who tore through it at will, with Town off the pace, missing or not making tackles and seeing passes going astray.
Deverdics nearly scored his second with a magnificent free-kick from 25 yards near the corner of the Town box, but was unlucky to see it crash off the far post.
Heath’s choice of Danny Clarke instead if Adam Morgan or George Waring to replace the presumably injured Harry Middleton hinted at damage limitation.
Had Tom Denton converted a free header eight yards out just before half-time, a flicker of hope might have been rekindled.
Had I Predict A Riot by the Kaiser Chiefs been turned down at half-time, the crowd may well have heard Heath reading the riot act to his players.
Hartlepool continued to be quicker, stronger and more aggressive than Town, and remained the dominant force in the second-half.
Denton had a close range effort well saved midway through the second-half after a lovely chest-down, and later headed over from Clarke’s cross, but by now Hartlepool had taken their foot off the gas.
However, they had enough left in the tank for Newton to tap-in after being unselfishly handed the chance on a plate by the excellent Michael Woods after his burst into the box.
Hartlepool: Loach, Donnelly, Harrison, Laing, Deverdics (Ledger 81), Featherstone, Newton, Woods, Rodney (Adeloye 61), Cassidy (Munns 80), Oates. Subs not used: George, Hawkins.
Scorers; Deverdics (4), Donnelly (7), Oates (31), Newton (89)
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Halifax: Johnson, Clackstone, Garner, Hotte, Wilde, Macdonald, Oliver (Moyo 63), Middleton (Clarke 43), McManus, Batty (Morgan 75), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Waring.
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Referee: Joseph Johnson
Town man of the match: Tom Denton