Frickley Athletic slipped to a third successive defeat in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division when they lost 2-1 at fourth-placed Warrington Town on Saturday.
Relegation-haunted Athletic looked set to collect a valuable point until Warrington substitute Daniel Hattersley scored a winner two minutes from time.
A corner was only half cleared and Hattersley turned and shot with his weaker foot from 20 yards out and the ball found its way into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
It was cruel on plucky Frickley who battled superbly throughout and went close to grabbbing an injury-time equaliser when a free kick was diverted just wide of a post.
Gibraltar international striker Adam Priestley gave Athletic a first-half lead.
A ball through the middle undid Warrington’s defence and Priestley nipped in to put the visitors in front after 25 minutes.
Goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski saved an effort from Ruben Jerome with his legs as Athletic retained the lead until the last minute of the first period when Warrington had two successive corners.
James McCarten’s header from the first corner was tipped over the bar by Malkowski but McCarten found the net from second corner to make it 1-1 at the break.
Warrington threatened to get on top in the second half but were thwarted by Frickley’s solid defence. Town failed to create anything of note although they had three penalty shouts, the last of which saw home player Evan Gumbs booked for dissent.
The Blues looked as though they would hold out until Hattersley hit the target to keep Warrington’s play-off charge on track.
Frickley: Malkowski, Stohrer, Tate, Gooda, Fielding, Burton, Mangham, Akeroyd, Pugh, Priestley, Burdett. Subs: Williams, Fairhurst, Lawrence, Valentine, Diggles.
Athletic will look to bounce back when they host fellow strugglers Halesowen Town on Saturday.
The Blues will aim to complete a league double after winning 2-1 at Halesowen in November.
Frickley have signed midfielder Daniel Booth and left-back Aaron Tate.
Booth previously played for Heanor, Handsworth, Gresley, Goole and Worksop.
Tate, who has been signed from Houghton Main, played in last Saturday’s game at Warrington Town.