NESTON South Wirral suffered a dismal afternoon in the October sunshine as they crashed 6-0 at North Two title favourites Preston.
Traffic jams and an absurd diversion meant that most of the Neston side barely made the start time, but they made a positive start, forcing a couple of penalty corners, although these were comfortably dealt with.
Striker Aled Jarvis hobbled off injured after ten minutes and from then on Preston made Neston suffer as they rotated their large squad to great effect.
Ben Heywood finished well from the home teams first set piece, and he made it 2-0 just before the break, when he smashed home after a fortuitous deflection.
After the interval, Neston struggled to keep possession and when skipper Rich Lowry parried a cross, the ball fell kindly for Steve Masterson to flick home.
Preston's swift movement had Neston wilting in the heat, and they were left chasing shadows as Phil Bowman finished twice from almost identical moves.
Heywood completed his hat trick late on when he drilled past Lowry, to compound Neston's misery.
This weekend Neston welcome Northern (Crosby) to Parkgate.
Elsewhere, goals from Emma Nokes (2), Lorien Waterer and Louise Swift maintained the ladies position at the top of Cheshire Division One, as they were comfortable 4-0 winners at Wrexham. THE GLOBE