SCARBOROUGH Athletic’s faint promotion hopes were all but ended on Saturday when they lost 3-0 at leaders Halesowen.
The Seadogs remain only two places off the Evo-Stik League division one south play-offs but they are now 13 points off the pace with only six games left in which to make up a seemingly insurmountable deficit.
Rudy Funk’s men needed a result in the Midlands but the game began badly as they fell behind to a Ben Haseley goal and lost the experienced Bryan Hughes to injury, all within the opening 15 minutes.
The first blow arrived as Paul Foot, back in Boro’s defence, misjudged a bounce, with Haseley putting away his 30th goal of the season.
Boro matched the leaders for the remainder of the half albeit without really testing goalkeeper Matt Sargeant.
Jordan Thewlis went the closest after a run from half-way but his drive flew over.
Boro’s next blow came early in the second half.
Matty Plummer failed to control the ball and then bundled Iyseden Christie over in the box.
Much-travelled striker Christie, once linked with York City during their non-League days, picked himself up to score from the spot.
Jimmy Beadle and Gary Bradshaw went close for Boro but Halesowen were always in control and sealed victory as Haseley outpaced the defence and dinked the ball over goalkeeper Jason White.
Scarborough host struggling Market Drayton Town on Saturday (3pm) and go to Sheffield on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Whitby Town, meanwhile, saw off Nantwich Town 4-2 in a mid-table match in the premier division.
The result ended a run of five defeats in six games.
The Blues had to come from behind, too, after Lee Bullock lost possession on half-way, with Steve Foster playing in Aaron Burns to give Nantwich the lead.
The Seasiders, without player-boss Darren Williams after a midweek operation, equalised on the half-hour mark as Lee Mason’s right-wing free-kick was back-heeled in at the near post by Shane Henry.
Graeme Armstrong rounded the keeper but was forced wide and could only roll the ball across the face of goal, but he was heavily involved as Whitby took the lead the other side of half-time.
Armstrong was controversially judged to have been barged over by Sam Wilson and Mark Robinson scored from the spot.
Mason scored a cracker after 72 minutes, cutting in from the right and firing home, and Henry knocked home Mason’s square ball to seal the points, before Ben Deegan hit a late consolation for the visitors.