SKIPPER Stephen Jones admitted his team "didn't show up" for Saturday's vital promotion clash with Twickenham.
Their seven-wicket defeat was only their second reverse of the campaign, and both have been against the team who now lead by 10 points in the battle for the second promotion spot in Division Two of the Middlesex County League.
Put in to bat, Acton slumped to 88 all out in 29.2 overs. Twickenham's James Munting did most of the damage, taking 6-55.
The home side fought back well, taking seven wickets, but it was too small a total to defend and the visitors got home in the 29th over.
"The wicket wasn't great but we batted poorly," Jones conceded. "We were well up for it but didn't turn up on the day. We threw a lot of wickets away and nobody put their heads down. We didn't put any partnerships together at all.
"The result makes it a lot harder for us [to go up] but we are still in the mix."
At least leaders Southgate lost, giving hope to the pursuers, and the top of the table now reads: Southgate 73 points, Twickenham 68, Acton 58, North Middlesex 57, Enfield 50.
Acton's second team managed just one point from their trip to Barnes. They were holding on at 138-4 from 46 overs at the death in response to the home team's total of 215 all out from 54.1 overs.
A seven-wicket win at Brentham for Finchley - the only unbeaten team left in the division - has shrunk Acton's lead to eight points at the top of Division Two in the second XI championship. The top reads: Acton 71 points, Finchley 63, Barnes 60, Shepherd's Bush 60.
There was no consolation in the third team's home match with second-placed Highgate in Division Three of the third XI league. They were all out for 100 in reply to 179-9 and are now 31 points adrift of their conquerors in a distant sixth place.