After three excellent league wins in succession that had rekindled flickering title hopes, Hanwell Town suffered a very disappointing 2-1 defeat at lowly Biggleswade United on Saturday, writes Bob Fisher.
The loss was almost entirely due to some abject defending in the opening 30 minutes, during which Biggleswade scored twice.
As early as the fourth minute, only the speed of Antony Rowlands prevented Biggleswade's Meschack Cole from a clear run at goal but there was no escape two minutes later when a long ball from defence found Cole once again, and he raced away to easily steer the ball past the advancing Nej Hussein.
Town fought back strongly and dominated the next 20 minutes. But efforts from Liam Hind, Blaise O'Brien, Luke Kenny and Charlie Baverstock were either wide or straight at visiting keeper Adam Lawrence.
Completely against the run of play, Bigglewade went further ahead when a neat pass by David Martin found Cole in yards of space and once again Hussein was helpless.
Within a minute, Town reduced the arrears when Baverstock played the ball into the path of Chris Mills, who swept it into the corner.
Two minutes after the break, Town were unlucky not to equalise when a Kenny shot struck the crossbar.
As the half progressed, Biggleswade began to enjoy an equal amount of play and with Town committed to attack, they looked the more likely side to score again.
They should have done when Cole once again raced clear, but having rounded Hussein, he sent his shot across the face of an empty net.
At least Michael Buckley - as a sub - and Charlie Baverstock made their first appearances for several months after being out injured.
There was further disappointment for Hanwell on Tuesday night when they were held to a 1-1 draw by a resolute Haringey Borough side struggling to keep clear of the relegation places.
The game was due to be played at Haringey, but when their pitch was declared unfit at lunchtime, the game was switched to Reynolds Field.
With better finishing, Town would have put the result beyond doubt by the interval but the woodwork twice came to Haringey's rescue.
The second half was much more even and Haringey took the lead just after the hour when sub Hector Mackie broke clear from just inside Town's half and raced on to drive the ball past Hussein.
Four minutes later, Town drew level with a tremendous 30-yard strike from David Diedhiou that flew into the roof of the net.
In added time, Fabian Brown for Haringey and Diedhiou for Hanwell both missed chances.
On Saturday, Town are at relegation-threatened Cockfosters.