Didcot Town’s battle to move away from the Division 1 South & West relegation zone suffered a big setback on Saturday.
Despite taking an early lead, the Railwaymen slipped to a 4-1 defeat at home to mid-table side Stratford, who were helped by a disputed penalty.
This is the type of game that Didcot must win if they are to avoid having a worrying second half of the season.
They could not have had a better start.
After six minutes, striker Germaine Ofori coolly slotted home past Stratford keeper Andy Kemp to put Didcot ahead.
The hosts almost doubled their lead shortly afterwards but Josh Dutton-Black’s volley was superbly saved by Kemp.
Stratford started to get a foothold in the game and levelled after 18 minutes, when Chris Sterling fired past Didcot’s debutant keeper James Foster.
Stratford were looking increasingly likely to add another before the break, and it needed a fine stop by Foster to keep out Jamie Sheldon’s free kick.
The visitors continued to dictate the play after the interval without really troubling Foster.
However they benefitted from a disputed penalty on 65 minutes.
Luke Carnell was adjudged to have fouled Sterling when through on goal, despite the fierce protests from the hosts.
Richard Gregory stepped up and sent Foster the wrong way to put Stratford ahead.
Sheldon made the game safe for the visitors with 13 minutes remaining, firing in after link-up play with Sterling.
And to rub salt into Didcot’s wounds, Stratford substitute Tyrone Fagan shot home from close range in injury time to complete a disappointing afternoon for the hosts.
Didcot Tn: Foster, Parish, Woodley, Carnell, Abbassi, Franklin, Dutton-Black, Heapy (Longford 72), Ofori, Mills, Whitehead (Haysham 67). Subs not used: Thorne, McKirnan, Baines.