Shildon AFC’s eight game unbeaten run was brought to a crashing halt in West Auckland on Saturday afternoon when the home side inflicted a heavy 4-0 defeat on the Railwaymen.
Whether things may have turned out differently if Shildon had converted a gilt-edged chance straight from the kick-off is a moot point, although their lacklustre performance throughout the game suggests not.
However, Shildon should have been ahead after just thirty seconds when Aiden Heywood’s cross from the right found Kurt Matthews in space in front of goal.
But instead of sidefooting home, the striker elected to attempt an elaborate backheel, only to steer the ball wide of target.
The visitors were immediately punished when, just ninety seconds later, an Amar Purewal cross cut back was sidefooted home by Adam Mitchell.
The home side took control of the game, regularly carving open chances as they exploited the weaknesses in Shildon’s three at the back formation.
But for all their endeavours, they were unable to add to their tally, giving the visiting support hope that the half time team might inject some energy into their side.
Instead it was deja vu as West doubled their lead in the second minute of the second half.
Shildon lost the ball in midfield, finding Purewal with a loose pass and the former Shildon striker instantly fed the ball through to David Dowson who kept his cool to round the keeper and slot home.
Five minutes later it was game over as Dowson, after a fine team move, found himself on the end of a Liam Hegarty cross to thump home an unstoppable header.
Midway through the half, Purewal got the reward his performance deserved, when another slick move carved open Shildon defence and the tall striker slotted past a helpless Shaun Newbrook.
That Shildon were not further humiliated was perhaps as flimsy a positive as the Railwaymen could take away from the game.
They will certainly have to rediscover the form that saw them win the four matches prior, travelling as they are to Stockton Town, who have a perfect record in the league, as the Crier goes to press.
It will be back to Dean Street then on Saturday for another league match, with Seaham Red Star the visitors.