Kettering Town slipped to their fourth defeat of the season as Bedworth United closed the gap on the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central leaders with a 1-0 victory.
The Poppies made the short trip to Warwickshire knowing a victory would send them 10 points clear at the top.
Instead their lead was cut as Bedworth moved into second place thanks to Andrew Westwood’s early goal.
Joint-bosses Thomas Baillie and Scott Machin rang the changes, four of them in total from the team that started the 3-2 victory over Potters Bar Town, as goalkeeper Richard Knight was handed his debut with Jamie McAlindon out injured.
David Kolodynski was given his first start while Saturday’s match-winner Jon Bukasa was also included along with the returning Jason Lee.
Dubi Ogbonna, Steve Kinniburgh and Reubus Richard-Noel all dropped to the bench, which also featured Claudiu Hoban who missed out at the weekend.
Things couldn’t have started much worse for the Poppies as they fell behind after just three minutes.
Ben Steane played a ball through to Andrew Westwood and he finished to put the hosts in front.
Knight spilled a long-range effort and the ball was scrambled clear as Kettering’s shaky start continued.
Bedworth continued to have the better of things and Knight produced a smart save to deny Daniel Dubidat before the crossbar came to the visitors’ rescue from Alex Naughton’s shot.
The Poppies were fortunate to only be one down at the break and Dubidat saw a shot squirm under Knight and trickle wide of the post for a corner early in the second half.
Kettering threw Hoban into the action and their best chance of the game fell to Kolodynski but he was denied by former Poppies goalkeeper Denham Hinds.
The goalkeeper was at it again when he pushed Elliot Sandy’s header over the bar as Kettering searched for an equaliser.
But, despite being more competitive in the second half, a goal wouldn’t come as the Poppies were sent to defeat.
They will need to regroup quickly as they gear up for Saturday’s home clash with in-form Chalfont St Peter, who won at Latimer Park in the FA Cup earlier in the season.
Poppies: Knight; Clifton, Hull, Lee, Bukasa; Robinson, Solkhon; Kolodynski, Gooding, Hall; Sandy. Subs not used: Kinniburgh, Ogbonna, Jepson, Richard-Noel, Hoban.
Goal: Westwood (3 mins, 1-0).