RAMSBOTTOM United 's FA Trophy run came to an abrupt halt at Altrincham on Saturday after a 4-1 defeat at the Evo-Stik Premier leaders.

Mark Fell's men had claimed the scalp of Premier high-flyers Shaw Lane in the previous round but repeating the feat proved a bridge too far to far as they were dumped out of non-league biggest cup competition in the second qualifying round.

And the manager called on his players to quickly refocus on their league quest after falling out of the Evo-Stik North play-off places in recent weeks.

“No arguments for us over the result, on balance they deserved it," said Fell.

"The goals were tough to take – two from set plays which we can defend better, a deflection and a mistake from Tabby (goalkeeper Danny Taberner), who was otherwise excellent – so when you break them down we can avoid them all.

"It’s a cliche but we can fully focus on climbing the division now.

"The trophy run has been good, brought some funds into the club, and we now need to rectify our league away form and put ourselves back into the mix.”

The Rams were given the toughest possible task to proceed in the Trophy, playing at the highest-ranked team in the competition at the second qualifying-round stage.

The afternoon started in the best possible way for the Rams when they took the lead with just 90 seconds on the clock.

Home keeper Tony Thompson's clearance hit the back of his own defender Joel Bembo-Leto and the ball fell to ex Altrincham player Sam Heathcote, who finished superbly with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.

They had chances to extend their lead in the opening 10 minutes. Greg Daniels turned well and tested Thompson with a shot while Luke Thompson headed over from a Daniels' corner.

But Altrincham slowly began to get a foothold in the game as ex-Rammy striker Jordan Hulme warmed to the task of firing his current club into the next round.

He finished the game with a hat-trick, beginning with an equaliser in the 17th minute, heading in from a corner.

The goal turned the game on its head as the home side poured forward and Taberner made three excellent saves to keep the scores level.

But the Rams's resistance only lasted until the 34th minute, when Hulme found time and space in the box to fire the loose ball into the top corner after the visitors failed to clear another set-piece.

Altrincham went into the break leading 2-1 and took less than five minutes to increase their lead after the restart, Hulme bagging his hat-trick with the aid of a wicked deflection.

The Rams tried hard to get back into the game. A Phil Dean effort was deflected just over the bar and a Jerome Wright shot threatened the home goal, but hopes of a grandstand finish were dashed five minutes from time when James Poole speculative shot from distance slipped through Taberner's hands and into the net.

Fell's men, who have slipped down to 13th in the table, face the toughest of tasks if they are to get their season back on track on Saturday with trip to league leaders Bamber Bridge.