Tring Athletic slipped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Crawley Green on Saturday, although they still hold on to the top spot in the SSML Premier by virtue of goal difference from Hadley.
It was a tough game against a determined and dogged outfit who took their chances.
Athletic failed to do the same and squandered some good opportunities, particularly in the first half.
Hosts Tring were bereft of defenders and had to field a much-changed line-up with an average age of just 20.
That inexperience showed in the eighth minute when Green had their first real foray forward. The dangerous left winger Josh Williams crossed to the far post where Jake Alderson was waiting completely unmarked to head home for a 1-0 lead to the visitors.
It was the fourth game running that Athletic had conceded the first goal of the game so the home side were not about to press the panic button and they had numerous chances to equalise through James Verney, Lee Stobbs, George Ironton and twice through Ashton Campbell.
Three minutes past the half-hour Athletic finally drew level when Ironton, who prior to the game was awarded the player of the month award for December, swept over a cross-cum-shot to find the net for the second game running for a thoroughly deserved equaliser.
A tough first-half ended all square at 1-1 but Athletic had enjoyed much more possession and created far more scoring opportunities and were disappointed not to have had their noses in front.
But Athletic then gave themselves another mountain to climb when a defensive error allowed Alderson to score his second of the game just three minutes after the re-start.
Athletic had it all to do again but had a chance to reply immediate following another good move with Verney shooting just wide.
Kieran Turner spanked a couple of 25-yard shots that forced the opposition keeper Josh Mollison, who was excellent throughout, into a couple of terrific saves.
It was like a game of attack versus defence as the visitors dropped deep, getting ten players behind the ball and battled for every scrap of possession, making it tough for Athletic to find a way through their dogged defence.
As the game wore on, chances started to dry up and Tring were made to regret the many opportunities they wasted in the first period.
The visitors held on to claim a hard earned victory.
This Saturday sees Athletic travel to 16th-placed North Greenford United.