Boston United dropped into the National League North’s bottom two after being beaten 3-2 by Brackley Town.
The Pilgrims were the victims of a lacklustre start which saw the Saints ease into a 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes played.
And despite yet another attempted fightback, the damage had been done.
FC United’s 2-1 win over Nuneaton saw Boston drop a place in the table, but they remain three points from safety.
A 3-0 win over second-placed Salford City on Tuesday night would move them above the drop zone, but that would mean Boston recording their second league win in 12 attempts.
It was a familiar story as, for the third time in six meetings between the two at York Street, Boston allowed Brackley to take a comfortable 3-0 lead before mounting a comeback, only to fall a goal short.
The continued launching of long throws into the Saints’ penalty area by Sam Muggleton looked as if it may eventually wear down the promotion-chasers’ resilience.
However, some desperate defending ensured Town held on, with that's sloppy start proving pivotal.
Slack Pilgrims defending allowed Brackley to score two goals of alarming simplicity within the opening quarter of an hour.
Andy Brown handed the Saints a 10th minute lead, given too much time and space as he collected Jack Byrne’s through ball and placed a low drive across the dive of George Willis from inside the United box.
And that lead was doubled as the hosts’ defence again failed to deal with a straightforward attack.
Aaron Williams had no trouble in making his way to the byline before guiding the ball across the six yard box and through a crowded penalty box, where Shane Byrne reacted first to fire his third goal in as many matches high into the net.
Simple and effective from Brackley. Simply ineffective from United.
Williams made it 3-0 less than two minutes after the re-start, slotting into the unguarded net after Willis could only parry Adam Walker’s effort.
Ashley Hemmings made sure that both teams have scored in all six meetings between the two sides in Lincolnshire as he tucked away a 54th-minute penalty, given for handball following Jordan Keane’s header towards a crowded goalmouth.
And the comeback looked on when Jay Rollins reduced the arrears further.
With 17 minutes to go Hemmings’ strike smashed against the substitute and into the top corner to give Boston hope.
The contest evened out somewhat after Brackley netted those two early goals, Boston asking questions of the Saints with a bombardment of corners and long throws into the box.
But the Saints’ defence stood firm magnificently, with the hosts’ only goal threats in the first half being Ashley Hemmings’ long ranger and Karl Hawley’s near-post flick, both falling the wrong side of Danny Lewis’ goal.
At the other end Willis had to be alert to tip away Williams’ stinger.
The second half saw both sides net early on before United began turning the screw.
At 3-1 down they enjoyed their best spell of pressure, Keane’s header forcing a good save from Lewis and Hawley and Hemmings again seeing efforts flash off target before Rollins made his mark.
Williams should have restored the away side’s two-goal lead but somehow fired wide from close range when Willis’ save from Walker landed in his path.
And when Shane Byrne beat Willis Shane Killock slid in to clear the danger.
Brackley held on for victory, meaning Boston have registered just one point from six home matches against their bogey side.
But more concerning for Boston is where they sit in the league table.
UNITED: Willis, Wakefield (Vince HT), Muggleton, McGuire, Killock, McGowan, Hemmings, Keane, Hawley, Tshimanga (Rollins 48), Clifton; Subs (not used): Penfold, Smith, Adams.
BRACKLEY: Lewis, Myles, Franklin, S. Byrne, Graham, Dean, G. Walker, J. Byrne, Brown Ndlovu 74), Williams (Arnson 83), A. Walker; Subs (not used): Lowe, Diggin, Tilney.
Ref: Garreth Rhodes.
Att: 950 (41).