Rampant Ravi Shamsi put St Ives Town to the sword as he helped himself to five of the Nuneaton Borough’s goals in a 6-2 win.
It ended up in a day to forget for Ives as it appeared the hosts would score every time they went forward in the latter stages, as the effect of their coronavirus-enforced absence and lack of training seem to catch up with them.
Injuries began to mount up too as influential skipper Robbie Parker, centre back Oran Jackson and finally Marc Richards, 15 minutes from time, were all forced off with what appeared to be muscle problems
And yet it had all started so brightly.
Nathan Hicks went close on before Ives took the lead. Jacob Ballinger cut in from the left before feeding Michael Gyasi and although his shot was blocked, the referee deemed it was the arm that had stopped the ball.
Richards did the business from the spot for 1-0.
It was almost 2-0 shortly after but Ballinger hit an effort from a tight angle into the side netting.
And slowly Nuneaton and Shamsi began to get back into the contest, leading to the equalising goal in the 21st minute.
They went in front seven minutes from half-time, Tomkinson and Shamsi combining on the left before the latter hit a dipping drive that flew past the diving Conway and just inside the far post.
But it was all square by half-time. Gyasi was again the provider as he once more got away from the defence down the left before delivering a low cross to the near post where Ballinger sliding in prodded the ball home.
A clearance by Ethan Stewart thundered against his own post early in the second half but that would be the closest Ives came to taking the lead again.
Shamsi was brought down by Luke Howell moments later and he made no mistake with the penalty for 3-2.
It got to the stage where it was all one-way traffic and the inevitable fourth arrived after 71 minutes.
This time Bassett and Kelly-Evans combined to set up Kazibondi who fired home from 25 yards.
Shamsi then wrapped things up with another two goals as the weary St Ives squad desperately waited for the final whistle.
The only saving grace for Ives is that their scheduled opponents for Saturday, Peterborough Sports, now also have a Covid outbreak in their camp so that game is off.
It will give Ricky Marheineke’s troops time to regroup and the injured a bit more time to recover ahead of hosting Leiston on Tuesday evening.