FC Halifax Town missed their chance to move further away from the relegation zone as they lost 2-1 to Leyton Orient at The Shay.
Macauley Bonne put Orient ahead after 19 minutes before Tom Denton brought Town level just after the half-hour mark. But Josh Koroma restored the away side’s lead before half-time.
The Shaymen are bang out of form and only four points above the drop zone - not a combination you want heading into February.
It’s now one win in eight for Town, who are now looking nervously over their shoulders at the bottom four.
Billy Heath named an attacking line-up, with as many forward-thinking outfield players as defensive ones, and Shaun Tuton partnering Denton up-front.
But for a side with only four goals in their last seven games, falling behind within the first 20 minutes was the last thing Town needed.
From a superb through ball by Dan Holman, Bonne produced a cool finish to slip the ball past Sam Johnson for his 17th goal of the season; for someone with that track-record, he really should have been marked much tighter.
Former Town midfielder Craig Clay brought a good save from Johnson soon afterwards, as Orient took encouragement from their bright start.
Shaun Tuton had sent a rising shot just over from the edge of the box early on, but The Shaymen, despite showing a willingness to close Orient down, looked more disjointed in attack compared to the visitors, who were comfortable on the ball and possessed good movement.
Halifax levelled when Josh Macdonald’s low cross was side-footed high into the net by Denton after Tuton had missed his kick in-front of him.
But Orient soon regained their lead - and deservedly so - when Koroma cut in on his right-foot on the left-side of the box and his vicious low shot beat Johnson at his near post.
Holman had fired just over from a similar position moments earlier following a brilliant, lightning quick counter-attack involving Jobi McAnuff and Bonne, which was a warning Town didn’t heed.
Halifax now needed to score twice in a game - something they hadn’t done since beating Chester 4-0 over a month ago.
Town had been second best in the opening-half, but could still have ended it level when Tuton’s low shot across goal hit the post, then hit the prone Denton and bobbled wide.
Halifax needed a way back into the game, but as on Saturday, the potential of Tuton, Macdonald and Matty Kosylo didn’t come to fruition, whereas Bonne, Koroma and Holman were linking-up superbly with some quick, sharp inter-play.
The Shaymen were certainly spirited after the interval, but what they had in effort they lacked in quality, and struggled to create clear chances, with a blocked Kosylo shot and a Denton header over the best they could muster before their play deteriorated into hit-and-hope high balls.
Halifax: Johnson, Moyo, Garner, Brown, Wilde, Macdonald, Collins, Clarke (Hibbs 75), Kosylo, Tuton, Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Duckworth, Hotte, McManus.
Scorer: Denton (33)
Shots on target: 1
Shots off target: 8
Leyton Orient: Brill, Caprice, Elokobi, Happe, Adams, McAnuff, Clay, Koroma, Coulson, Holma, Bonne. Subs not used: Sargeant, Mooney, Moncur, Harrold, Reynolds.
Scorers: Bonne (19), Koroma (39)
Shots on target: 5
Shots off target: 7
Referee: Peter Gibbons
Town man of the match: Scott Garner