DISCONSOLATE Pickering Town manager Jimmy Reed said he believed his charges had let the club down after they crashed out of the FA Vase in bizarre fashion.
They led Billingham Synthonia 1-0 with 15 minutes to go, but like their FA Cup exit when a 2-1 lead over Jarrow Roofing in the latter stages ended in a 4-2 defeat, the Pikes went down 3-2 to Saturday’s Vase visitors with Liam Salt’s brace of goals ultimately counting for nought.
Said Reed: “While they were the best Northern League team we have played of the four we have met this season, they were not really hurting us.
“They had plenty of the ball but the longer we went on leading 1-0 the better I felt as we were still defending well, breaking and creating good chances.
“But once we let in an equaliser as they broke from our attack that was it.
“I’m disappointed, the staff are disappointed and the players too because I think we let the club down.”
The task does not get any easier for the Pikes, who tomorrow have to pick themselves up for a Northern Counties East League premier division derby at Tadcaster Albion.
And Taddy are back in the mix for pursuit of the NCEL crown.
Paul Marshall's men saw off Nostell Miners Welfare 2-0 to claim fifth spot – just three points shy of leaders Bridlington Town, whose former Pickering marksman Carl Stewart bagged a penalty to rescue a share of the points at Maltby Main.
The scorers for Tadcaster were Andrew McCormick in the 27th minute and the reliable Steve Jeff from the penalty spot eight minutes later.
Back in the NCEL top tier, Scarborough Athletic trailed 2-0 to hosts Retford United after just 13 minutes.
But the Seadogs countered with a three-goal blitz in the last 20 minutes through Sam Denton and Ryan Blott with Tony Hackworth hitting a last-minute winner.
Woes deepened for Selby Town. The manager-less Robins remain marooned at the foot of the NCEL first division after a 2-0 loss at Rossington Main.
Buoyant Harrogate Town lifted themselves to a season’s highest 12th place in the Blue Square Bet North after a 3-1 home triumph over Vauxhall Motors.
The game was effectively over with five minutes to go of the first half by which time the Wetherby Roaders were three goals to the good.
Paul Beesley opened the scoring in the 19th minute and soon after Lee Elam doubled the score with a long-range thunderbolt before Luke Dean added a third courtesy of a 39th-minute spot-kick.
While Vauxhall claimed a reply from Booth seven minutes into the second half, it was merely consolation as the hosts marched on to victory.
But Town’s neighbours Harrogate Railway Athletic were on the wrong end of a three-goal tussle at Lancaster City in the Evo-Stik League first division north.
By the hour mark the hosts were 2-0 ahead with Railway mustering a riposte from Daniel Hill in stoppage time.