Barton Rovers went down to high-flying Aylesbury United at Sharpenhoe Road on Saturday.
Victor Osobu ought to have headed Rovers ahead from a Garry Jones cross, but headed weakly wide, and they paid dearly for this miss when Aylesbury went ahead a minute later through Ollie Hogg’s fine shot from the edge of the box.
The game was end-to-end, but the visitors shaded possession and looked more menacing in front of goal.
However, Rovers were dangerous on the counter-attack and levelled when Jerome Jibodu’s right-wing cross was converted by Connor Furlong at the back post for his first Barton goal.
Osobu’s mazy run and fine cross into the box had no takers to finish a superb move, and right on half-time Aylesbury centre-forward Ken Feyi ran onto a through ball from what looked a blatant offside position, and lobbed the visitors ahead.
To rub salt in the Rovers wounds, just two minutes into the second half, Feyi again looked offside when he scored his second from close range.
With a mountain to climb, Rovers’ chances came and went regularly, and their all-out attacking policy backfired on 57 minutes when Sonny French made it 4-1 with another powerful finish from the edge of the penalty area.
Rovers centre-back, and man-of-the-match, Lewis Thomas was perhaps lucky to see only a yellow card for what looked a desperately late challenge before Jibodu denied Feyi a hat-trick by clearing off the line.
After 73 minutes, Rovers substitute Tony Williams Jr headed in Barton’s second, and three minutes later headed against a post.
The visitors almost had a fifth when centre-back Mark Riddick headed a corner against a post as Aylesbury played out the last few minutes in comfort.
Rovers were left to curse their luck as, once more, officialdom played a crucial part in the outcome of a match.
Rovers: Forster, Jibodu (Griffiths 74), Jones, Gibson (Williams Jr 61), Sonuga, Thomas, Osobu, Smith, Vincent (Okuboyejo 85), Tshikuna, Furlong.