Runcorn FC Halton 1, Burscough 3: FROM being unnoticeable in the first half, the gap between these two sides at opposite ends of the UniBond League Premier Division table had become unbridgeable within 18 minutes of the restart.
Burscough may have gone second from top after this win while the hosts stayed one off the bottom - if only thanks to Leek being held at home.
But if either side enjoyed the better of things early on, it was Steve Carragher's men.
However, all that had changed when, having already escaped one extremely close shave, Runcorn were stunned by David Eaton's 22-yard opener in the 47th minute.
It was a bad start which just got worse - striker Tony Gray scoring twice from close range in the 60th and 63rd minutes to exploit a Runcorn defence which plunged from confusion into total disarray.
Only Matthew Boswell had kept the Greens level with first-half saves from Billy Robertson and Thomas Lamb.
But these chances had come from a scrappy opening period.
Runcorn did pull themselves together after the deluge and their most controlled spell brought a goal for Colin Flood - sent clear by Thomas Lamb, one of three play-ers on their home debut.
This briefly raised hopes of a comeback as Runcorn finally began to tick.
Yet, ironically, Burscough would have increased their lead but for Robbie Holcroft's recovery save from Eaton's lob.
RUNCORN FC HALTON: Holcroft, Potter, Ness, Robertson, Siadankay (Jones 84), McInerney, Whalley, Scott, Lamb, Furlong (Taylor 66), Flood. Sub: Burns. Attendance: 173.