Daniel Wishart condemned Kettering Town to a potentially fatal defeat at Kingfield as Hayes & Yeading United sealed a 1-0 win to leave the Poppies staring relegation in the face.
Caretaker-manager Ashley Westwood started alongside David Bridges at the heart of the defence having registered himself this week while Ben Joyce, who had been on trial, also started while another new signing, Max York, started on the bench.
Former Poppies assistant-manager Marvin Johnson was brought in by Westwood to direct things from the sidelines.
But it was Hayes who settled the better and the Poppies were forced to scramble the ball away after Mark Bentley had headed a corner towards goal before Aiden O’Brien shot just wide.
Laurie Walker was forced into a fine save after Tom Collins robbed Westwood and cut into the area and O’Brien missed a fine opportunity as he beat the offside trap but sent his shot wide.
Walker saved again from Luke Williams’ curling effort before Kettering went close when Phil Ifil’s cross was tipped away by Steve Arnold.
Joyce sent a shot well wide for the visitors but the Poppies did go close on the stroke of half-time when Arnold brilliantly tipped Nathan Ralph’s shot over the crossbar.
The Poppies switched to a 4-4-2 formation at the start of the second half and they almost broke the deadlock from Charlie Wyke’s back-heel released Marcus Kelly but he was denied by Arnold while Ralph’s follow-up was blocked.
Joyce’s low cross was missed by Wyke as Kettering turned up the pressure and the former also shot wide after breaking clear in the left channel.
The game became scrappy after that and Julian Owusu headed over for the hosts before they claimed the all-important goal with six minutes to go.
A long throw was flicked on and Wishart was left unmarked and he smashed home a volley from eight yards.
The Poppies were unable to launch a comeback as they suffered a ninth successive away defeat in all competitions.
Hayes & Yeading: Arnold; Moutaouakil, Cadmore, Walsh, Spence; Bentley, Hand, Pele (sub Lee, 59 mins); Williams; O’Brien, Collins (sub Wishart, 59 mins). Subs not used: Owusu, Ajala, Beasant.
Poppies: Walker; Ifil, Westwood, Bridges, Davis; Verma (sub Hornby, 85 mins), Kelly; Ralph, Joyce (sub Jones, 84 mins), Mills; Wyke. Subs not used: Ford, Pryor, York.
Referee: Rob Whitton.
Goals: Wishart (84 mins, 1-0).
Bookings: Westwood, Kelly, Cadmore, Hand (all fouls), Verma (unsporting).