The runners-up berth in Evo-Stik NPL East looks the best Brighouse Town can hope for after they lost 5-2 away to Loughborough Dynamo yesterday.
They retained second place but slipped 10 points behind Morpeth Town, who were 3-0 home winners against Spalding United, with 10 games left for both sides.
Morpeth are hot favourites for the one automatic promotion place but Brighouse will want to stay ahead of the rest to gain home advantage in the play-offs,
It was a second successive away defeat for Brighouse, who had suffered a shock 1-0 loss at Stocksbridge Park Steels a fortnight earlier.
The visitors might have guessed it wasn’t going to be their day when the coach carrying their Calderdale contingent broke down in Sowerby Bridge and then goalkeeper Jordan Porter suffered a back injury in the warm-up. After a debate with the referee about whether a replacement ‘keeper would be allowed after the team sheet had been submitted, Matt Smith was able to play between the posts.
However, there was still no excuse for an out of sorts performance from Vill Powell’s side in a fluctuating contest in Leicestershire.
The defence was poor, their passing lacked its usual quality and they were 3-0 down after 26 minutes.
Goals from Luke Thorogood, Josh Riley and Karl Demidh did the early damage but Brighouse launched a revival and replied just before and just after half time.
Aaron Martin’ struck his 17th of the season after Mohammed Ibrahim had hit the post. Ibrahim then made it 3-2 in the opening minute of the second half.
However, hopes that Brighouse might get something from the game were dashed when Reuben Asamoah made it 4-2 after 55 minutes and Ryan Robbins completed an unhappy afternoon for the visitors with a penalty in the closing seconds.