Scarborough Athletic kicked off the festive period early on Saturday as they gifted Burscough a 3-0 win at Queensgate.
The pull of Christmas shopping must have been too much for many Boro fans, as the day’s gate dipped to just 285. And there certainly wasn’t much cheer when referee Simon Clayton blew his full-time whistle.
Boro made a nightmare start to what was a niggly encounter, as they had full-back Paul Robson sent off and conceded a goal in the very first minute. They never recovered from this blow.
On the back of two wins in cup competitions, Boro were hoping that this form would follow them into the Evo-Stik North.
But, despite playing with a gusting wind at their backs, disaster struck with just seconds on the clock.
The centre of Boro’s defence fell asleep straight from kick off and Andrew Lewis scampered in on Boro keeper Patrick Weaver. Paul Robson manhandled the Burscough striker to the floor and he was given a straight red for his trouble.
To rub salt into these wounds, Paul Williams’ wickedly deflected free-kick crept into the back of the home net.
After such a frenetic start to proceedings things soon settled down to a pedestrian pace.
Boro may have been reduced by one man, but they possibly still had the better of the remaining 44 minutes of the half. Sadly opportunities for either side were at a premium, as were the highlights.
Lightning was to strike twice though, as Boro once again shut down when the whistle went for the new half.
Will Jones managed to outstrip the Boro back-line, but Weaver made a superb one-handed save to deny him. Lewis was on hand though to poke home from a tight angle to double the lead.
Boro sides had a handful of half-chances before Boro were given something of a lifeline on the hour.
Michael Monaghan reacted badly to being challenged by sub Tom Corner and kicked out at the big striker. For the second time in the game referee Mr Clayton brandished the red card.
The yellow cards also continued at regular intervals and there could well have been another dismissal when Burscough’s Williams aimed a kick at Steve Mallory, but the incident was missed by the officials.
There was little Boro response on the attacking front though, some endeavor, but no end product.
In contrast Burscough managed to finish the job with just over 10 minutes remaining. Williams drove in a low free-kick that cut through the Boro defence and sailed into the net between Weaver’s legs.
This embarrassment capped a lacking performance that leaves Boro with just one league win on the board since August.
And with the vultures circling, an immediate tonic is required to halt what is becoming more crisis than blip.