After recent high flying performances, Long Melford plummeted to the ground without a parachute, as they lost 5-1 to a resurgent Ely City in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
The Stoneylands visitors had a point to prove after losing 6-0 in their previous league encounter, while The Villagers searched for a third consecutive victory.
But a red card and a poor performance for the home side condemned them to a heavy loss, as Ely ran riot.
The first goal came after only nine minutes as Dan Brown scored the first of what would become a hat-trick.
It could have been even better for the forward, as he missed a great chance to double Ely’s score in the 31st minute, but blazed wide from close range. It was a frustrating afternoon for the home team, who were outplayed across the pitch.
The game was held up in the first half as a linesman suffered an injury and was forced to limp off. Fortunately, the club had staff able to take over the official’s duties.
The home team only had two chances in the first half — a saved shot by Andy Fisher and a missed header by Nathan Rowe from a good position — but were still trailing by only one goal at half-time.
But the second half would see the home side unravel, with Lee Reed scoring from the penalty spot before Brown added his second — and the side’s third — shortly after.
Ely then added a fourth as Brown lobbed ‘keeper Leeder but it was to get worse when, in the 80th minute, Rowe was shown red for a bad tackle.
Despite that, Melford substitute Hassan Ally pulled a goal back in the 90th minute to make it 4-1 but Brown still had something to say as he added his third — and the side’s fifth — from the penalty spot.
Many home supporters left before the end as they expressed their unhappiness.
The Villagers next host Histon on Saturday (3pm), a side in scintillating form having recorded five wins and one draw in their last six outings.