Wealdstone 1 Dover Athletic 2
Dover's dads army bailed the runaway Ryman Premier Division leaders out of jail to leave Wealdstone's ten men cursing their luck.
The experienced trio of player-manager Andy Hessenthaler, prolific lower league striker Giuliano Grazioli and exYork and Grimsby midfielder Alan Pouton helped the Whites recover from going a goal down to extend their lead at the summit to eight points.
Ryan Ashe's free kick was deflected in by John Keister after just 11 minutes but he made amends with a well-taken equaliser for the visitors just before the half hour mark. Then Pouton, 31, struck the winner from the penalty spot after James Gray saw red for pulling back Grazioli as the 33-year-old former Barnet hitman bore down on Sean Thomas's goal.
And Stones boss Bartlett believes Dover's battle-hardened side, led by former Watford and Gillingham play-maker Hessenthaler, 43, are the real deal.
"After they scored and we were reduced to 10 men they showed a lot of professionalism and used their experience very well," he said. "Before that it was very even.
"I said to the boys at half time and after the game that we didn't show the confidence and ability that we had done in previous games. We went on the back foot after we scored and I felt we tried to protect the lead.
"We sat far too deep and were not tight enough on their forwards or midfielders, which is something we had done really well prior to this game."
The Stones boss said Hessenthaler's team selection showed a great deal of respect to his own side but admits there was a gulf in class in terms of personnel.
"They changed their style of play for us," he added. "They made three changes from their previous game at Sutton United and all the changes were made for experience as they knew it was going to be a tough game.
"Dover selected a side with a lot of experience in it and there is just no substitute for that in certain situations. Look at Grazioli, Alan Pouton and Andy Hessenthaler - they have got in excess of more than a 1,000 league games between them whereas we haven't got a 1,000 non-league games between our entire team."
Bartlett bemoaned the penalty decision is 'iffy' and felt his side should have been awarded one in the first half after Marvin Sordell claimed he was clipped from behind just as he was about to pull the trigger from close range.
"We are going to get some decisions and not get others, there is no point whinging about it now," he said. "The fact is we didn't do enough on Saturday to have won but had we been able to hang on, a draw would have been a reasonable result."
Stones took the game to Dover from the off on Saturday and it was no surprise they took the lead, albeit fortuitously, when Keister stuck out a leg to divert Ashe's low, whipped free-kick past his own goalkeeper.
However, the former Sierra Leone international went from zero to hero when he netted the equaliser after 28 minutes after some fine approach play down the right flank.
Sordell then has his appeal for a penalty waved away after missing what looked a gilt-edged chance as both sides entered the dressing rooms all square.
The visitors upped the ante in the second half and were rewarded when Grazioli burst clear only to hit the deck after Gray appeared to tug his shirt. The defender was sent for an early bath and Pouton converted the penalty straight down the middle of the goal
Wealdstone: Thomas, Martin, Chap-pell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O'Leary, Haule, Sordell, Montgomery.