A disastrous opening half-hour sent Oakham United tumbling to a derby defeat against Melton Town at Lonsdale Meadow on Tuesday night.
The visitors plundered five goals in the first 30 minutes of the United Counties League Division One contest to effectively end the match and ensure Oakham’s wretched run continues.
The Rutlanders haven’t tasted success since the end of August and Tuesday’s loss was their 20th successive defeat in all competitions.
Recently-appointed manager Ryan Hunnings is gradually putting together a squad capable of competing at this level and their second half showing against Melton showed there is cause for optimism.
However, a lack-lustre and error-strewn opening saw them put to the sword by their derby rivals who came into the match on the back of two successive defeats.
Oakham could actually have taken the lead inside the opening minute, but Dean Giglio fired a good opportunity over the Melton crossbar.
And the visitors took full advantage shortly after to break the deadlock when Chris Hibbitt headed home unmarked at the far post from a corner.
The goal rocked Oakham and, after Kieran Clayton had done close with another effort from a corner, the visitors soon doubled their lead.
Zac Ginvert was allowed time and space to run at the home defence befure curling home a fine finish beyond the outstretched arms of home goalkeeper Mark King.
Oakham then found themselves three goals down inside the opening 15 minutes when Ginvert broke the home offside trap before applying another tidy finish.
The onslaught continued and unfortunately Oakham hadn’t learned their lessons from the earlier goals conceded as Hibbert added Melton’s fourth with a replica of his earlier effort.
The Melton man was again allowed the freedom of the home penalty box to steer home another far post header from a corner.
Ginvert then rubbed further salt in Oakham’s first half wounds when he completed his hat-trick with a simple tap-in after good work down the left from Kieran Foster.
Ginvert was denied the chance of adding another goal to his ever-increasing tally by a fine save from King just before the break as Oakham were glad of the half-time whistle.
Steve Jucikas and Melton old boy Cameron Brookes were introduced to the fray at half-time and they added more resolve and desire to the home side.
Jucikas rifled in an early effort that was well dealt with Melton goalkeeper Alex Egner who was brought into action for the first time.
Ginvert was still causing problems at the other end though and he blazed over a good opportunity after rounding King while the Oakham custodian produced a couple of decent saves to prevent the Melton frontman adding to the scoreline.
Oakham then brought on Tiago Camilo and the substitute had an immediate impact shortly after his introduction as he let fly with a speculative strike that looped over Egner to reduce the deficit.
The goal seemed to lift Oakham and Giglio had a well-struck effort safely gathered by Egner before the hosts struck for a second time.
Scott Waumsley made a good run down the right and his low cross picked out the incoming Brookes who bundled the ball home from close range against his former club.
However, any thoughts of a miraculous comeback were quickly dispelled as Melton went down the other end and scored their sixth goal.
A free-kick picked out the unmarked George Coser who steered his effort past King for the 77th goal Oakham have conceded in 21 league games this season.
This defeat leaves them second-from-bottom of the Division One table, six points clear of winless S&L Corby but 11 adrift of next team above them.
Oakham: King, Wilde, Martin (Camilo), Lambie, Slack, Bennett, Black (Jucikas), Nottingham (Brookes), Waumsley, Giglio, Westley. Not used: Chamberlain, Carr.