A shocked Jarrow Roofing were thumped for five at Stockton Town, losing 5-1 after taking the lead in a game overshadowed by a terrible injury to debutant David Lowrie after only 11 minutes.
South Tynesider Lowrie signed for the Roofers on Tuesday with Roofing supremo forced to hand the teenager a starting debut, with both Jamie Marshall and Corey Barnes out.
And after a solid opening, horror struck as Lowrie went down on Stockton’s 4G surface after a ball flashed across the box with the full-back’s boots sticking in the surface.
The teenager was stretchered off and was cared for by Roofing and Stockton staff while an ambulance was called.
By that time, Roofing’s 1-0 lead had turned into a 5-1 loss as rampant Stockton swept the Roofers aside in a thumping second half.
Davey Palmer had put the Roofers ahead after six minutes when he raced on to Olly Martin’s through ball and finished low past Michael Arthur.
But Stockton equalised shortly before half-time when Max Craggs drove a left-sided free-kick in which beat Shaun Newbrook.
And with Roofing visibly shaken at half time with updates on Lowrie’s situation, they fell into disarray in the second half, with McLoughlin critical of the defensive cohesion of his side.
“It was poor defending, and the same old story for us where we do OK for a couple of games then fall back into same old mess,” McLoughlin said.
“All of the goals were mistakes made by us and then the heart of the team goes as players’ heads go down.
“Too often in that second half you could hear our players telling each other not to give as much space to the men they were supposed to be marking.”
Jamie Owens was the recipient of much of that space, time and again afforded yards inside the box. After two near misses, he put Stockton ahead after the restart and then minutes later extended the lead with only Daryll Donnelly near him with the rest of the defence too fragmented.
Owens notched his hat-trick goal on 69 minutes, waltzing unattended into the box with Roofing having already switched off.
The Teessiders then hit a fifth through Fred Woodhouse after Ethan Wood was forced to cover three players. Stockton worked the ball around the Roofing man and Woodhouse sweetly struck past Newbrook.
“We’re pretty much the architects of our own downfall at times,” said McLoughlin.
“We have to take the blame ourselves due to a lack of consistency.”
“We need to get that consistency and cohesion on the training ground so that we can build upon it during the games. The organisation needs to be better.”