Michael Birmingham was gutted as Horndean were left empty-handed after losing 1-0 against Blackfield & Langley in the Wessex League premier division at Five Heads Park.
The hosts pushed the title-chasing visitors all the way
But they paid a heavy price for a defensive error in the first half.
Birmingham said: ‘I am devastated we didn’t get anything from the game.
‘We controlled the first 20 minutes and created a number of good chances.
‘Then we gifted them their goal which came totally against the run of play.
‘In the second half we just lacked that vital bit of quality in the final third to open them up.
‘We were the only side that wanted to get the ball down and play football.
‘Blackfield were more direct and went route one.
‘At the end they certainly knew they had been in a game and celebrated as if they had won the World Cup.’
Moneyfields opened up a three-point gap at the top of the table after a 3-1 win over Bashley at Dover Road.
Assistant boss Mat Jones – taking charge in the absence of Dave Carter – was delighted with the performance from his depleted side.
‘We had 10 senior players on the sidelines watching,’ said Jones.
‘It has been a difficult spell for us with so many missing but we have come through it well so far.
‘The first half-hour was probably the best we have played this season.
‘We went two up but then typically took our foot off the gas.
‘We let them back in it with a sloppy penalty before going on to win it in the second half.’
Dan Hayes grabbed the first two goals with headers from set-pieces.
The first came from Lee Tigwell’s long throw-in and the second at the far post from a free-kick.
Hayes went from hero to villain when he conceded the penalty, though.
Goalkeeper Derek Harding kept out the first two efforts from the spot but was beaten at the third attempt.
Alex Shephard then secured the win midway through the second half.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men for the final 15 minutes.
Graham Rix praised AFC Portchester after they battled to a 0-0 draw at in-form Bemerton Heath Harlequins.
The Royals boss said: ‘We did really well with another young and inexperienced side out.
‘It is an excellent point to stop the rot.
‘Nathan Kirby and Tom Cain were superb for us at the back.’
Alex Baldacchino stepped up his recovery following an 18-month injury lay-off with a superb 10-minute cameo from the bench.
He hit the crossbar and forced an excellent save from the Heath keeper.
Fareham Town slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Lymington Town.
Substitute Leigh Shadbolt grabbed the Reds goal in the 79th minute.