Fareham Town showed no mercy to struggling local rivals Hayling United, easing to a 3-0 Wessex League premier- division derby success.
A first-half goal blitz from the Reds proved enough to settle the contest.
Dan Hayes, Graham Lindsey and Mark Cotton were all on target, leaving Hayling facing a real battle to avoid the drop into the Wessex division one.
Hayling, to their credit, regrouped and forced Fareham keeper Luke Douglas to pull off quality saves to thwart Lenny Burney and Tom Wray.
With the match all but won, Fareham took a breather in the second half, ahead of their a Russell Cotes Cup clash at Fleet Spurs this evening (7.45pm) and a Cams Alders Wessex League clash on Wednesday against Alresford Town (7.45pm).
Hayes headed the opener for Fareham, before goal machine Lindsey finished off a superb move on 20 minutes by side-footing the ball into an empty net.
To the delight of the home fans, Fareham saved the best to last, with youngster Mark Cotton jinking past several challenges before lifting a shot over the head of Clarke into the roof of the net.
While Fareham can now look forward to the remainder of the season and perhaps winning silverware from two cup competitions – they also face Moneyfields in the semi-final of the Portsmouth Senior Cup – Hayling too have an even greater challenge ahead of them if they are to avoid relegation.
‘It’s a pity that our run of decent results came to an end but Fareham were better than us on the day and we have to accept it,’ said Paul.
‘But there is still plenty to play for, we have 10 or so more games to play so we can still scrap for enough points to keep us up.
‘One defeat in six matches does show what the lads are capable of so we shouldn’t be written off.’
With Fareham boss Matt Parr currently working abroad, assistant manager Mickey Cripps took charge.
‘Matt will be away for about four or five matches and has left me to get on with selecting the best team to do the job on the day, much like he does,’ said Cripps.
‘And it was a decent start. The lads turned it on and scored three very good goals so for me they have set their own standard which I will expect from here on in.
‘Tonight we have a break from the league but it’s equally important that we rise to the occasion and do what we can to beat Fleet Spurs.’