St Neots Town saw their mini-revival come to an end yesterday following a quick turnaround in form.
Matt Clements’ men were beaten 2-0 at Suffolk side Leiston in the Southern League Premier Division Central only four days after triumphing by the same scoreline in the reverse fixture.
The midweek success on home turf lifted Saints out of the relegation zone and they stayed there despite this setback on their travels during which both sides had a man dismissed.
Saints were close to going behind inside the opening minute after captain Luke Knight clumsily brought down Kyle Hammond on the edge of the box. The same Leiston man then steered the resulting free-kick just over the bar.
Goalkeeper Finley Iron then saved bravely at the feet of Hammond before the hosts were reduced to 10 men midway through the opening half when defender Harry Knights crudely brought down Jordan Norville-Williams.
But Saints failed to make their numerical advantage count. Quite the opposite in fact.
The woodwork came to their rescue when Tom Bullard headed a corner against the bar, but they fell behind on the half-hour to a high-class Patrick Brothers goal.
Dylan Williams saw one goalbound effort blocked and another well saved by Leiston keeper Marcus Garnham before the break and Knight missed the target with a free-kick early shortly after the resumption.
But Saints’ hopes of clawing their way level were dealt a major blow only six minutes into the second half when Devante Stanley was sent off for a late and high challenge on Bullard.
And just six minutes after his departure they conceded again as an unmarked Noel Aitkens tapped in a deflected cross.
Striker Gary Wharton missed Saints’ best chance of a consolation goal late on. Wharton and Taylor Parr also saw efforts saved as Clements’ men drew a blank.
Manager MClements said: “A few of the players allowed their standards, which had got us success in our previous two games, to drop and that’s not something we can allow to happen.
“We’ve picked up six points from our last block of five games and that has got us out of the bottom three. Now we have to ensure we do similar or more in the next block to survive the battle we’re in.”
Saints host Alvechurch this Saturday when they will look for a third successive home win.