YORK City supporters drowned their sorrows in Curzon Ashton’s Atlas Bar as the club’s players spectacularly lost their way on the pitch during a 4-1 humiliation.

The drinks hut – an addition to the Tameside Stadium since City’s last visit – provided a refuge for the travelling faithful as home striker Niall Cummins navigated his way through the away defence far too easily.

Cummins helped himself to a first-half hat-trick and might even have claimed four goals before the interval, but for Adam Bartlett’s 28th-minute penalty save.

Following the restart, Samuel Walker joined Curzon’s centre forward on the scoresheet before City’s leading marksman Jon Parkin was given his marching orders midway through the second period following a clash with home captain Jonathan Hunt.

Alex Kempster – a part-time player like every member of the Nash’s squad prior to his arrival from Whitley Bay this week – went on to at least provide some consolation for the Minstermen with a stylish debut goal.

He also headed against the crossbar and the second-half substitute will have been exempt from the chants of “You’re not fit to Wear the Shirt” that were directed at most of his team-mates by exasperated away fans.

Bartlett could also be excused from such damning accusations as, in addition to repelling Cummins’ spot kick, he reacted brilliantly to prevent skipper Sean Newton from putting through his own goal before denying sub Ben Wharton late on.

On other occasions, though, the former England C international was left helplessly exposed and, having displayed rare defensive resilience seven days earlier to keep only a second clean sheet in 24 games during the 1-0 triumph against table-toppers Salford, the Minstermen were carved open with less than four minutes on the clock to fall behind against a club with the third-lowest average attendance in the division.

Alex Pattison, who received an early whack that would lead to his substitution three minutes later, was unable to track a left-wing raid and, when Newton’s weak clearance fell to Jake Dunwoody 15 yards from goal, his shot was parried by Bartlett only for Cummins to pounce from close range.

Shortly afterwards, the hosts might have doubled their advantage in almost carbon-copy fashion after an attack down the opposite flank.

This time, right-back James Baillie charged on to Chris Rowney’s through ball and again picked out Dunwoody for another on-target attempt but, following Bartlett’s save, unlike Cummins before him, Joe Guest cleared the crossbar Simon Heslop managed the Minstermen’s first shot of the game on the quarter-hour mark, but his 25-yard attempt was comfortably gathered by Cameron Mason.

On 26 minutes, meanwhile, Heslop created an easier equalising chance for Parkin after picking the unchallenged veteran out on the far post from a left-wing free kick.

But the former Championship campaigner uncharacteristically directed his downward header wide of the opposite upright.

From the next attack, Curzon broke through the left channel and Connor Brown was teased into a trip on Ben McKenna as the home winger cut inside the former Guiseley right back.

Referee David Underwood pointed immediately to the spot, but Bartlett dived low to push Cummins’ attempted conversion on to his left-hand post.

Any hope that moment might prove pivotal in the contest, though, was quickly extinguished as Cummins claimed the match ball following his next two chances.

First, debutant Marcus Williams – playing at left back after replacing the injured Pattison – completely sold himself, misjudging a searching diagonal ball, allowing McKenna to skip past him close to the byline, before sending in a cross that Cummins converted from five yards on 35 minutes.

Then, just three minutes later, a spot of pinball in the panicky away box eventually led to a ten-yard opportunity for Cummins that he swept into Bartlett’s bottom-right corner with a shot across the face of goal. When Bailie went on to blast wide of Bartlett’s near post after sprinting on to Matthew Regan’s pass through the right channel, City fans fully vented their frustrations.

Moments later, Newton dragged off target from the edge of the box, but Bailie also volleyed over from 12 yards at the other end and Bartlett pushed behind a Walker shot following Hamza Bencherif’s weak headed clearance.

After the break, Bartlett kept out a long-range Guest effort and Cummins’ header was deflected over, before the home side made it 4-0 on 58 minutes.

Guest’s left-wing cross travelled all the way to Walker, who had been left alone at the far post and, when he drilled the ball into City’s six-yard box, it finished in Bartlett’s bottom-right corner with the aid of a deflection.

Six minutes later, Parkin was heading for an early shower after appearing to stamp on Hunt.

But the ten men got on the scoresheet in the 67th minute following their first shot since the restart, with Kempster chasing a long ball through the left channel, before cutting inside and confidently firing across the face of goal into Mason’s bottom corner.

More ill-discipline saw serial yellow-card collector Brown receive his latest caution for an aggressive reaction despite being awarded a free kick in his favour, while Bartlett displayed top-class reflexes to spare Newton the ignominy of an own goal after he helped on a near-post Curzon corner with his head.

Kempster, meanwhile, continued to impress during an encouraging cameo by beating Mason with a header from Jonny Burn’s right-wing cross, only for his effort to rattle the home crossbar.

The former PE teacher went on to pull the ball back from the byline for Bencherif to drive too high in stoppage time after Bartlett had charged out of his goal to smother at Wharton’s feet and been equal to McKenna’s raising 20-yard shot.

Referee Underwood’s final whistle then signalled the Minstermen’s biggest margin of defeat since losing by the same scoreline to eventual National League champions Lincoln back in November 2016.

City ratings

Adam Bartlett 7

Connor Brown 3

Hamza Bencherif 3

Jonny Burn 4

David Ferguson 4

Simon Heslop 4

Sean Newton 3

Alex Pattison NO RATING

Aidan Connolly 3

Adriano Moke 4

Jon Parkin 3

Substitutes: Marcus Williams 3 – sluggish (for Pattison, 7), Alex Kempster 7 – lively (for Connolly, 53), Raul Correia (for Ferguson, 71).

Subs not used: Dan Parslow, Luke Simpson.

Star man: Bartlett - made a string of fine saves to prevent a bigger humiliation

Curzon Ashton: Cameron Mason, James Baillie (Oliver Thornley, 86), Daniel Shaw, Jonathan Hunt, Joe Guest (Aaron Dwyer, 74), Matthew Regan, Samuel Walker, Chris Rowney, Ben McKenna, Niall Cummins (Ben Wharton, 78), Jake Dunwoody. Subs not used: Luke Clark, Tyrell McKenzie.

Curzon Ashton star man: Cummins – in right places to capitalise on City sloppiness

Referee: David Underwood rating: 7/10 – could have been firmer following Pattison foul, but good otherwise

Booked: Guest 16, Rowney 80 Sent off: Parkin 64

Attendance: 892

Shots on target: Curzon Ashton 12, City 3

Shots off target: Curzon Ashton 5, City 3

Corners: Curzon Ashton 7, City 0

Fouls conceded: Curzon Ashton 7, City 9

Offside: Curzon Ashton 2, City 3