Ten-man Boston United’s miserable run continued with a 2-0 home defeat to unbeaten Kidderminster Harriers.
Three straight defeats without a goal have seen the Pilgrims slip from second to eighth in the National League North as, yet again, promising play could not be complemented by a decisive touch.
Harriers were undoubtedly the toughest opponents the Pilgrims have faced this season and two fantastic finishes from Edward Williams and Ashley Chambers were worthy of winning any match.
On another day Boston could easily have taken something from the contest, a handful of fine saves from Brandon Hall and two goalline clearances from Lee Vaughan frustrating the hosts.
But as it stands, manager Craig Elliott suffered defeat for three consecutive games in a row for the first time in his dug-out career.
Elliott made two changes to the side which was beaten at Bradford Park Avenue on Monday.
Grant Roberts and Craig Westcarr made their first starts of the season as Adam Marriott dropped to the bench and Jonny Margetts was left out of the squad.
Two fantastic goals in the space of seven minutes saw Harriers hold a deserved half-time lead.
Williams’ finish was a perfect solo effort, drifting in from the left to the right-hand side of the Boston box, twisting and turning his way beyond any yellow shirt that got near him before wrong-footing George Willis and slotting and inch-perfect finish beyond him at his near post.
Chambers’ strike was more direct but equally as effective, smashing a 20-yard volley through the pack and into the net after United only half-cleared a corner.
Those goals apart, the first half was open but neither side created many more clear-cut chances.
Ryan Johnson headed wide of the Boston goal while the Pilgrims went closest through Westcarr, whose effort was diverted away by Johnson, and Ben Davies, his cross punched away from under the bar by Hall.
Harriers almost made it three seconds after the break but vital covering tackles from Spencer Harris and Ryan Qualter gave the hosts hope as Joe Ironside and Williams looked odds-on to score.
Vaughan was in the right place to head off the line twice when denying Davies’ free kick and Jonathan Wafula’s header as Boston went in search of the goal that could spark a revival.
Hall also frustrated the hosts, parrying efforts from Andi Thanoj and Davies.
As United pressed and Harriers played on the break, Chambers almost nabbed his second of the day.
Beating the onrushing Willis to the ball he cut back on himself and, with the keeper stranded, saw his effort rebound off the bar.
But back came Boston, Hall again frustrating them with a superb save to tip Andre Johnson’s drive over.
United’s hill became that much steeper to climb in the 75th minute as Jordan Gough received his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card of the afternoon.
Enjoying their numerical advantage the Harriers pushed on, but Dan Bradly’s attempted lob didn’t have the lift to beat Willis.
Hall, again, earned his wage and a clean sheet with another top block, this time parrying Cieron Keane’s fierce drive.
UNITED: Willis, Davies, Gough, Thanoj, Harris, Qualter, Roberts (Keane HT), Abbott, Westcarr (Johnson 64), Walker, Wafula (Middleton 74). Subs (not used): Marriott, Lees.
HARRIERS: Hall, Vaughan, Taylor (Austin 55), O’Connor, Horsfall, Johnson, Weeks, Daniels, Ironside (Bradley 72), Chambers (Richards 73), Williams. Subs (not used): Baxendale, Digie.
REF: David McNamara.
ATT: 1,129 (72).
STAR MAN: Ben Davies. A constant threat with his deliveries.
GOALS: Harriers - Williams (15), Chambers (22).
BOOKINGS: UNITED - Gough (40); HARRIERS - Johnson (35), Daniels (59), Vaughan (74).
RED CARDS: UNITED - Gough (75).