JUST when you thought everything was going well, Worcester City throw in a result like this.

Following 11 points from seven matches and back-to-back away wins at Histon and Eastwood, few would have predicted what happened at Moss Lane.

Altrincham scored four — two from Damian Reeves and one each for Jamie Lawrie and Michael Twiss — but it could have been a cricket score.

City, who hadn’t shipped four goals in the league since losing by the same score at Eastleigh in October 2009, were carved open time and again and Mike Symons’ injury-time penalty could hardly have been celebrated less.

No matter how you look at it, this was a poor performance and such a display left many scratching their heads following what has been a generally good start to the season.

Every time Altrincham made an attack, Carl Heeley’s team looked vulnerable and Worcester were virtually non-existent as an at-tacking force.

Symons’ spot-kick aside, the only time goalkeeper Stuart Coburn was unduly troubled was when Tom Thorley stung his palms from 20 yards in the first-half.

James Dormand, on the other hand, had a very busy afternoon and, despite making some good saves to keep the score to four late on, could not replicate his Corby heroics.

As against the Steelmen, City were missing key personnel on the flanks with Danny Edwards (hamstring) and Simon Brown (thigh) injured and Neil Cartwright at a wedding.

It was a similar lack of width that forced the 4-5-1 system last time out and this week, with strike duo Luke Corbett (ankle) and Danny Carey-Bertram (suspended) ab-sent, the increasingly versatile Rob Elvins was shunted forward to partner Symons in a 4-4-2.

Jared Wilson, who endured a disappointing start to the campaign at right-back, was deployed as a make-shift winger with Matt Birley on the opposite flank.

However, the defence was unchanged and that’s where, following an even beginning to the contest, things began to falter.

Lawrie brushed aside Ryan Clarke in bursting down the left and into the box before squeezing a strike under Dormand, who got a hand to the ball, for the 38th minute opener.

With barely a minute gone in the second-half, a long ball forward had City back-pedalling and Reeves fired the ball across Dormand into the corner.

As the visitors pressed for a way back, sacrificing Jacob Rowe for Michael Taylor and reverting Elvins to centre-half, so more gaps appeared.

Having caught Worcester on the break, Twiss easily beat Dormand for the third on 64 minutes and Reeves extended the advantage four minutes later after Nicky Clee had lofted the ball over the top of City’s defence.

By now, Heeley must have been fearing more goals and introduced Emeka Nwadike and experienced defender Martyn Naylor, playing for free, in a bid to limit the damage.

It worked to some degree but City still lacked a cutting edge up front.

That was until Symons was bundled over in the box by Rob Williams and the former Gloucester man smashed home his fifth goal of the season from the spot.