NORTHWICH Victoria suffered their heaviest defeat of Steve Wilkes' reign on Saturday, prompting the manager to apologise to supporters afterwards.

The visitors reached the break 4-0 down.

“It was a totally unacceptable performance,” said Vics’ boss afterwards.

“As manager, I’ll accept criticism too.”

The second-half was a successful damage-limitation exercise until debutant Kevin Edgar drilled low into the bottom-corner for 5-0 with five minutes left.

Bootle set on a course towards a fifth successive league win when Andrew Gillespie converted Carl Peers’ cross at the near-post.

The front man doubled his personal tally when he connected with Michael Ordish’s centre with a volley.

Kieron Kenny blocked twice, first from Ryan Cos and then when Peers followed up, to prevent the Bucks from moving further ahead.

However they duly did on 37 minutes when Kieran Halligan curled a fine finish out of goalkeeper Michael Donlon’s reach.

Bootle’s fourth goal was their best; Peers dispatched a volley from distance that looped over the visitors’ custodian and dipped into the net.

Wilkes sent on Matthew Clarke and Antony Shinks after the interval to bolster his defence, while Joe Whittington at least prompted Bootle net-minder Ryan Jones to make a save after cutting inside.

However there was to be no consolation goal, and Vics have not won any of their five North West Counties League matches since Boxing Day.

Vics | Donlon (GK), Aspin, Barski, Bennett, Kenny, Allen Weston, Gorman (Clarke 46), Adam Weston, Hart (Walker 74), Whittington, Durnin (Shinks 46) Subs not used Bickett, Lawrence Booked Barski, Bennett, Allen Weston

Referee Wade Smith

Attendance 150