Boston United were well and truly humbled as Altrincham hit them for seven at Moss Lane.
The 90-minute drubbing saw the Robins - who began the day a mere point ahead of the Pilgrims in the league table - hit Graham Drury’s side with their heaviest defeat of the campaign.
Alty thrashed Boston 6-1 at Moss Lane last season - a score which was surpassed this evening.
The hosts began this evening’s clash with the same eagerness to push forward.
Duncan Watmore saw a 20-yard effort flash inches over Dan Haystead’s crossbar with less than two minutes on the clock.
But the Blue Square Bet North’s leading scorer Damian Reeves didn’t take long to tuck away his 22nd of the campaign.
He latched on to Matt Doughty’s perfectly-weighted pass to round Haystead and casually roll the ball into the unguarded net after just 12 minutes.
Deadly Damian had plenty to do to see his name on the scoresheet, but the goal came from Doughty’s hard work.
He disposessed debutant Steve Spriggs in his own half with a fearless tackle, before riding Gary Silk’s challenge and popping in a perfect pass.
Boston looked in trouble as Jake Moult and Reeves both saw strikes from distance land just off target.
But Jordan Smith pulled the Pilgrims level with his very own moment of quality.
Latching on to Gareth Jelleyman’s 19th-minute pass, he unleashed a dipping effort from outside the penalty area which beat Stuart Coburn courtesy of the crossbar.
Sadly, picking the ball out of his net was about all the Robins stopper had to do all evening.
He should have brought his iPod.
Smith’s finish may have justified Graham Drury’s inclusion in the starting XI - at the expense of Ben Milnes - but his finish created a lull in the game.
That was until two moments of magic and a solid header saw Altrincham finish the first half 4-1 up.
Firstly, Simon Richman gave the Robins a 35th-minute lead with his strike from 12 yards out, which flew high above the reach of Haystead.
Again, the goal was more about the creator than the finisher, with Duncan Watmore making something from nothing after skinning Silk on the left flank and cutting inside the box before finding his man.
Then Watmore - nicknamed the Ginger Messi in the north west - effectively won the game with a clever finish inside the penalty area.
After playing a clever one-two with Richman, he gave Haystead the eyes to send him the wrong way inside the penalty area.
That was in the 39th-minute and the game looked wrapped up.
However, there was another cheer to come from the home crowd as Richman looped a header home to extend the lead with one minute left in the opening half.
United almost pulled a goal back seconds later when Marc Newsham hit a shot on the turn, but he dragged his effort wide of Coburn’s post.
By now, United’s hopes of a comeback were about as realistic as Dick Van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins.
And boss Graham Drury’s double change at the interval - bringing on Conor Marshall and Nathan Stainfield for Spriggs and Tom Ward - looked like an exercise in damage limitation.
But that didn’t do much to change proceedings as left back Scott Leather made it 5-1 four minutes after the break.
Pushing on, he took his chance with a low drive on the edge of the Pilgrims’ penalty area.
And it paid off as the visitors’ net rippled for a fifth time.
Reeves made it 6-1 with a near-post finish from six yards which gave Haystead no chance.
But the icing on the cake came courtesy of substitute Ryan Brooke, sliding in the seventh and final goal as United’s day went from terrible to tragic.
But there was more woe on its way as Gary Silk saw red at the death for throwing Brooke to the floor folowing a tussle.
The 28 hardy - or should that be crazy? - Boston fans who made the three-hour trek to Altrincham didn’t have much to warm the cockles, apart from Smith’s strike.
But they can make their way home knowing this wasn’t the worst performance of the season.
The good news is that there was more commitment and passion than the defeat’s at home to Harrogate and away at Vauxhall Motors.
The bad news is that they were just totally outclassed from start to finish.
ALTRINCHAM: Coburn, Densmore, Leather, Rodgers, Havern, Hall, Richman, Moult, Watmore, Reeves, Doughty (Clee 64); Subs (not used): Lacey, Bullen, Brooke, Mooney.
UNITED: Haystead, Silk, Jelleyman, Ross, Ward (Stainfield HT), Watt, Spriggs (Marshall HT), Foster (Reed 61), Newsham, Weir-Daley, J. Smith; Subs (not used): Milnes, Fairclough.
Ref: S. Lucas.