THE new year may only be a few days old but already it is turning into a nightmare for Worcester City.
It is difficult to see how the Blue and Whites could have made a worse start to 2014 following their capitulation at the Horsfall Stadium.
Shipping three goals in each half condemned them to their heaviest defeat since the 5-0 drubbing at Halifax last March and the first time since a trip to Blyth Spartans back in April 2008 that they had conceded six.
The Halifax debacle set alarm bells ringing last season and came amid a run of defeats that sent City perilously close to the relegation places.
This time around, they are already entrenched in the drop zone and results, as against Bradford Park Avenue, will do little to convince fans that they can turn things around.
Everything had looked good when Ethan Moore prodded home his 10th goal of the campaign to put Carl Heeley’s side ahead after 10 minutes in Yorkshire.
But that was as good as it got for the visitors. Park Avenue were level within three minutes and, after Moore had contrived to scoop the ball over the bar from two yards, added two in quick succession before the break.
Three more goals followed in the second-half, including a penalty, as City were carved open at will and, but for Jose Veiga’s saves and the woodwork, the hosts could have racked up double figures.
Worcester had chances of their own but they simply lacked the quality to convert them, a recurring theme this season.
Moore has scored three of his side’s last four goals and is getting precious little support from those around him.
Their total of 17 goals in the league is five fewer than Barrow and six less than Workington, the two sides keeping them company in the bottom three.
Normally City have been able to rely on a sound defence — it was the joint best in the bottom half of the division before kick-off — but when that is breeched, they have nothing to fall back on.
The backline were not helped but those in front of them, often finding themselves horribly exposed, yet Bradford looked like scoring every time they ventured forward.
City might point to a quagmire of a pitch that cut up badly and made intricate passing virtually impossible, but it was the same for both teams and Bradford, who had lost their last five league matches, handled the conditions much better.
With the games coming thick and fast over the next couple of weeks, Worcester have a chance to rectify the situation quickly.
If they don’t, 2014 is going to look a whole lot worse very soon.