Alfreton Town’s promotion hopes suffered a further blow when they were beaten 2-1 at home Boston United.
It was their fourth home defeat of a disappointing Vanarama National League North season for Nicky Law’s men.
The Reds never really recovered from going a goal behind inside the opening 52 seconds, and only made significant inroads late in the game with their consolation goal coming eight minutes from time.
Manager Nicky Law fielded an unchanged starting line-up from the previous week’s win at Harrogate Town, but another early goal was conceded when Dayle Southwell’s cross was stabbed home by Jordan Blinco from ten yards.
Alfreton responded slowly and after Andi Thanoj and Jordan Robertson had both gone close the Reds were given a wake-up call in the 19th minute, when John Sands smashed the ball against the back post following a long throw on the right.
Sam Smith’s header was comfortably held by Henrich Ravas and John Johnston’s angled drive was held at the near post, before Robertson tested the Boston keeper from the edge of the area on 28 minutes.
Both sides had clear chances as the first half drew to its conclusion, Southwell racing clear for the visitors only to shoot wildly off target then a Joe Leesley effort deflected off Dylan McEvoy to settle in the keeper’s custody.
Matt Duke saved a towering Sands header in the 49th minute as United emerged from the break with attacking intentions, Southwell then embarking on a run before forcing the Reds’ keeper to turn the ball behind.
Johnston managed to reach the bye-line before whipping a cross through the goalmouth, leaving Smith lunging in vain, then Leesley set up Ryan Wilson for a volley that was Alfreton’s closest effort to date.
Boston led 2-0 by the 61st minute, McEvoy’s cross picking out Sunderland loanee Blinco on the edge of the area for his second goal with a powerful shot, then in response Liam Marrs threw himself in front of a Sam Jones volley to block.
Kaine Felix missed a glorious chance for the Pilgrims on 70 minutes, then both Leesley and Joe lronside went close as the Reds picked up the pace at last, with another Jones volley being diverted behind in the 81st minute.
The ensuing corner brought reward at last for the Reds, Leesley’s delivery eventually reaching lronside at the back post, and although the substitute striker’s initial shot rebounded off the foot of the upright he was on hand to stab the loose ball through a ruck of defenders and reduce the deficit.
Jamie Jackson was involved in several moves in the latter stages as Alfreton tried their best to salvage a point from the game, Tom Allan heading wide at the back post and Wilson’s full-blooded volley smashing into Zak Mills before rebounding harmlessly wide.
Jackson almost had the last word deep into added time, latching on to a Niall Heaton throw 12 yards out, but placing the ball just wide of the target.
Alfreton: Duke, Moyo, Galinski, Heaton, Wilson, Johnston (Allan 55), Leesley, Thanoj (Jackson 72), Jones, Smith (lronside 72), Robertson.
Subs not used: Jordan, Draper.