Burgess Hill Town were defeated 0-1 at home on Tuesday night to Harlow Town. A late goal from the away side saw them snatch all three points.
Ian Chapman named Cheick Toure as captain in the absence of Will Miles. Rob O’Toole returned to the Hillians and began the game on the bench.
It was a quiet first-half, with the only chances of note falling to Junior Dadson, both of which were dealt with by keeper James Shaw.
The game began to open up on 70 minutes as both sides were searching for a goal. Rob O’Toole, who was brought on just after the hour mark, was put through on goal, only for keeper David Hughes to beat him to the ball.
Lucas Rodrigues saw his own effort deflected and cleared for a corner. Aaron Smith-Joseph tried his luck from distance, but his volley didn’t have enough dip to settle underneath the crossbar.
Some good defending from Joe Keehan saw the scores remain level with five minutes to go. Lee Harding came close to opening the scoring; seeing his volley drift wide of the left-hand post. Rob O’Toole hit the crossbar with a header from the resulting corner.
Against the run of play Harlow captain, Ibrahima Sonko was on hand to head home to steal the points for the away side. Cheick Toure and Aaron Smith-Joseph both had chances in the dying seconds, but Harlow held out for the victory.
Manager Chapman said: “It was a hard game. The pitch was awful. They were big and quite direct.
"There was nothing in the game and in the last 20 minutes we were by far the side.
“We hit the crossbar. Rob O’Toole had a couple of chances.
“Young Lucas had a strike over the bar. Cheick Toure had a header from eight yards just after they scored.
“Aaron had one cleared off the line. They had one chance in the whole of the second half and score - just a free kick from a long way out and someone gets on the end of it and scored.
“It’s really soul-destroying but it’s one of them weher you have got to put a line through it. I know we keep saying it, buthere are now six points separating second from bottom and ninth from bottom.
“We are in a mini league and we have got to try and get out of the bottom four of that.”
Burgess Hill face Kingstonian on Saturday, who are currently one point and one place above Chapman’s men.