Corby Town were made to pay for missed chances as Slough Town snatched all three points with a 2-1 success at Steel Park.
The visitors took the lead in the first half thanks to James Dobson’s stunning free-kick, which was cancelled out by Spencer Weir-Daley’s fourth goal in three games for the Steelmen.
But Corby were unable to convert the openings they carved out after the break and a hard-working Slough side took full advantage with Scott Harris confidently bagging the winner with 11 minutes to go.
The defeat, which was the Steelmen’s second at home this season, meant they missed an opportunity to move into third spot in the Southern League Premier Division and ensured it was bad start to what could well be a crucial month with games coming thick and fast.
Tommy Wright restored Shane Byrne to the starting line-up following a hamstring injury with the suspended Ben Milnes and the injured manager being the only absentees.
New signing Elliott Chamberlain started on the bench alongside the returning Edi Appleton.
Slough settled the quicker in what was a fairly scrappy start and Scott Harris was just wide with a snap-shot from the edge of the box while Paul Walker held on to Reece Yorke’s header from a corner.
Weir-Daley had the first sight of goal for the Steelmen when he flicked the ball over a defender before his mis-hit shot was cleared with ease, despite beating visiting goalkeeper Jake Somerville.
But it was Slough who carved out the better opportunities and it needed a superb last-ditch challenge from Liam McInally to deny Harris after an excellent passing move released him in the area.
Dobson smashed an effort wide but he made no mistake seven minutes before the break.
The winger took aim from fully 25 yards after McInally had conceded a free-kick and gave Walker no chance as he curled a superb strike into the top corner.
Corby had not really shown much up until then but they did respond before the break.
Greg Mills sent in a corner from the right, Paul Malone flicked it on and Weir-Daley was there at the far post to apply the finish on the volley.
The second period took a similar pattern to the first to begin with as neither team being able to take a firm grip on proceedings.
Kalern Thomas blasted a shot wide for the hosts before new boy Chamberlain entered the fray with Wright opting to roll the dice with an attacking switch.
But disaster almost struck for the Steelmen when Walker sliced his clearance back towards his own goal but Connor Kennedy was quickly across to clear the danger before Johnnie Dyer could fire into the empty net.
Corby response to that fright was excellent, however and they created two glorious chances to take the lead.
Weir-Daley’s chip found Wilson Carvalho unmarked and onside but he seemed to hesitate before sending his final effort harmlessly wide of the mark.
And Corby were out of luck again when a quick break led by Chamberlain saw him find Mills, whose low cross eventually fell for Carvalho whose shot was cleared off the line by Ryan Parsons.
The Steelmen were made to pay for those misses. They were given a warning when Yorke crashed a shot off the crossbar after Dobson’s free-kick was only half-cleared.
But, barely 30 seconds later, Slough grabbed what proved to be the winner.
They broke clear in numbers and substitute Luke Knight’s pass went through Jamie Anton’s legs and left Harris with just Walker to beat, something he did with a composed finish.
Wright threw on Appleton and pushed Malone into the attack. It resulted in an all-out assault on the visiting penalty area for the remainder of the game.
But the ball never seemed to drop for the hosts and the closest they came was when substitute Jordon Crawford blasted wide from a decent position.
Ultimately, this was a case of what might have been for Wright and his men.
It was a close contest and when they occur, chances must converted. The Steelmen didn’t take their opportunities and paid the ultimate price.
They will now have to bounce back on the road at Chippenham Town on Saturday.
Steelmen: Walker; Kennedy, Malone, Anton, Thomas; Taylor, McInally (sub Chamberlain, 60 mins); Mills (sub Appleton, 84 mins), Byrne, Carvalho (sub Crawford, 81 mins); Weir-Daley. Subs not used: Clarke, Hartley.
Slough: Somerville; Fraser, Hollis, Yorke, R Parsons; J Parsons (sub Knight, 75 mins), McClurg, Sear, Dobson; Harris (sub Moran, 86 mins), Dyer. Subs not used: Cornell, Smith.
Referee: Geoff Law.
Goals: Dobson (38 mins, 0-1), Weir-Daley (44 mins, 1-1), Harrus (79 mins, 1-2).
Bookings: McInally, Hollis (both fouls).