Petersfield Town had to settle for a point after throwing away a two-goal lead in their 2-2 draw at Hanwell Town.
The Rams looked in charge at the break when they led through goals from Howard Neighbour and Jamie Ford.
In the second half, the loss of captain Ford with a dislocated elbow proved the turning point.
After his departure, Hanwell hit back to share the spoils in the the Southern League division one central contest.
‘We are devastated not to come away with a win after going two goals clear,’ said Petersfield manager Ian Saunders.
‘Our first 45 minutes were arguably our best of the season.
‘We were sitting pretty at half-time but 2-0 can be a precarious score.
‘After starting the second period well we lost our captain and that affected our rhythm.
‘We struggled to come to terms with his absence.
‘Before we knew it Hanwell were level when we should have been winning by four or five.
‘We restored our equilibrium in the final 20 minutes and were unlucky not to go back in front.’
Neighbour headed the Rams in front after five minutes from a Joe Briggs cross. Five minutes before half-time, Ford capitalised on indecision in the home defence to extend the visitors’ lead.
The hosts hit back just after the hour mark when Dan Sackman diverted the ball into his own net.
And they then levelled soon afterwards.
In the closing stages, both Briggs and debut-making Oliver Bailey had efforts cleared off the goal-line.
While he was disappointed not to win, Saunders felt he could take a number of positives from the game.
Not least of those were the performances from debut-making pair Bailey and Adam Bryce.
Striker Bailey has been signed from Swindon Supermarine, while central defender Bryce is on loan from Gosport Borough.
‘I thought both our newcomers had good debuts,’ said Saunders.
‘Oliver is only 18 years old and was unlucky not to score with their keeper denying him on four occasions.
‘Adam looked very solid at centre-half.
‘It was a game of fine margins and it is important that we learn from this experience.’
The Rams are next in Southern League action against Fleet Town at Love Lane on Wednesday night (7.45pm).