Blueharts put a valiant Crostyx to the sword 7-1 on Saturday as they were forced to field the bare eleven for the fifth time in the second half of the season.
Ed Murphy and Simon Blockley were called up this week to help Crostyx fill the side as they travelled to Hitchin to face top of the table Blueharts on a rayther sunny afternoon.
Ross Hopkins and Rob Harrison were forced to play with injuries and the absentees of James Lawes, Dan Hunn and the youthful fitness of Callum Palmer, Jake Burke and Will Holyman were sorely missed.
After some fairly even early exchanges Blueharts took the lead when Crostyx lost the ball in their own 25 and a quick ball into the D was forced through Neal Lofthouse's legs as he rushed off his line.
The hosts doubled their advantage shortly afterwards as some neat interplay and first time layoffs - a feature of Blueharts play - created an overlap on the right of Crostyx's defence, resulting in a ball across the D and a simple tap in at the far post.
It was 3-0 before long as after some pressure from set pieces a strike from the right side of the D crept under the logging Lofthouse.
Crostyx nearly responded when Hopkins and Demi Vassiliou combined down the left to release Ian Dunnett in the D, but his ball across the goal-face agonisingly evaded Harrison's reach.
Crostyx applied more pressure when a set-piece short corner nearly prevailed but the final flicked effort was well saved by the Blueharts netminder, and then the visitors' lack of clinicism was punished as a poor short corner injection resulted in a turn-over and Blueharts' quick break outnumbered Crostyx's defence and made it 4-0 just before half time.
Crostyx redoubled their efforts in the second half and held Blueharts at bay for long periods, but the home side's well stocked bench and constant rotation started to take its toll as the match wore on.
Crostyx did manage to get a goal after good work from Demi Vassiliou cutting in from the left to win a penalty corner, with Ross Hopkins bagging his 14th of the season with the most stright forward of routines.
Blueharts responded again with two short corners of their own, with two flicks, one direct from the top of the D and a second switched to the right being very pleasing on the eye.
With Blueharts aware of goal difference perhaps being a deciding factor in their title push they continued to press and found two more goals as in the dying minutes as tired legs couldn't always get the right side of the ball in time.
The loss sees Crostyx fall out of the top half of the table to seventh, with their last two games of the season next weekend against Long Sutton on Saturday and Cambridge University 2nds on Sunday.
Half time score: Blueharts 4 - 0 Crostyx
Half time score: Blueharts 7 - 1 Crostyx
Scorer: Ross Hopkins
Discipline: Simon Blockley - 1 x Green, Joe Johnson - 1 x Green, Ed Murphy - 1 x Yellow
Squad: Neal Lofthouse; Joe Johnson, Simon MacLeod, Russell Smith, Joe Whitehead; Rob Harrison, Ed Murphy, Ian Dunnett; Ross Hopkins, Demi Vassiliou, Simon Blockley.