Harrow Borough 1 AFC Hornchurch 2
Harrow manager David Howell admits his side blew their chances of victory in a torrid first 15 minutes on Saturday.
A combination of static defending and controversial refereeing saw the visitors storm into a two-goal lead thanks to the opportunist strikes of Michael Spencer and Ross Wall.
However, Borough slowly started to gain a foothold in proceedings and practically bossed the game in the second half, yet the result will not suggest that to anyone beyond the confines of Earlsmead.
"If anything I'm disheartened by the result," said Howell. "People will be saying 'oh, you've won against one of the top sides (Staines Town) but you can't beat a lesser side'.
"But we gave a good account of ourselves, it's just we lost the game inside the first 15 minutes."
Howell believes the turning point of the game came as early as the fourth minute when the referee overruled a linesman's flag for offside after Spencer's daisy-cutter had flown past goalkeeper Andray Baptiste.
"If the linesman has flagged for off-side then one of the other Hornchurch players must have got a touch in an off-side position," added Howell. "I didn't speak to the referee after the game. There was no point."
Dewayne Clarke reduced the arrears after 35 minutes but a succession of chances came and went, the lively Gary Noel particularly guilty of failing to bust the net.
With Wayne Walters suspended, Howell pulled Lee Hall in to the right-back position, with Dean Fenton coming in as a right-sided attacker. Noel started up-front in place of Warren Whitely.
After Spencer's 20-yard drive was allowed to stand Harrow tried in vain to get their act together, but only a wayward Ryan Watts strike underlined their disjointed approach play.
After 14 minutes the Urchins doubled their lead. Wall was afforded all the time and space in the world to turn and place a low shot past Baptiste into the right corner of the net.
Danny McGonigle tried his luck from 20 yards before Clarke saw a tame shot saved by Darren Behcet after a determined run from Bobby Highton.
Elliot Styles then hacked Jonathan Constant's angled shot off the line before Behcet gathered a Highton curler with ease.
The Urchins keeper was being kept busy now and he had to be alert to tip over Lee Hall's fierce free kick from 18 yards. From the resulting corner, however, Leech flicked on Constant's delivery for Clarke to flick the ball in at the back post.
On-loan Welling United midfielder Dorian Smith replaced the injured High-ton at the break, where whatever Howell had said to his troops had the desired effect.
Fenton lashed a wicked volley wide of the target; Clarke fired over the bar from close range; and Noel directed his shot wide when through on goal  the chip was the obvious option.
Fenton was afforded a warm reception as he made way for Miles Jones but Harrow were unable to force down the Essex side's door that had been creaking at the hinges for long periods in the second half.
Harrow Borough: Baptiste, Hall, Watts, Leech, Jinadu, Highton (Smith, 45), Fenton (Jones, 78), McGonigle, Clarke, Noel, Constant.