Colne slipped to defeat against Congleton Town at the XLCR Stadium on Saturday.
The Reds were slow to start and fell behind after 13 minutes when Richard Anane got to the byeline, and his low cross was fired home by Ben Halfacre at the far post.
Colne fought back, but were denied what looked a clear penalty on the half hour when Danny Boyle was pushed to the ground as he burst into the penalty area on a through ball.
The protests had barely died down when Congleton doubled their lead with a goal at the other end.
A high cross from the wing was misjudged by Reds keeper Chris Thompson, and Chris Middleton headed home the visitors’ second goal.
Just before half-time, Boyle forced a great save from Congleton’s keeper Craig Ellison after Simon Nangle’s diagonal ball had opened up the visitors’ defence.
Then a shot by Nangle was deflected wide off a defender in the crowded goalmout, before Spencer Jordan flashed a header just wide from yet another searching cross.
Colne looked to be getting to grips with the game in the first part of the second half with Boyle’s shot deflected wide after Adam Stockdale’s penetrating through ball.
Andy Tinker and Chris Bailey repeatedly found space on the left wing, prompted by Marc Young from midfield.
But again both Boyle and Jordan had shots blocked in the penalty area by a resolute Congleton defence.
And as the Reds pushed forward, they inevitably left gaps at the back and were caught on the counterattack after 74 minutes when Middleton raced clear on the right wing and beat Thompson with a low shot at his near post to stretch Congleton’s lead to 3-0.
Colne were given a lifeline just four minutes later when Louis James handled Jordan’s shot in the goalmouth and received a red card, as well as conceding a penalty which Boyle converted.
The Reds stepped up the pressure in the closing stages, with Alex Coleman joining the attack, but a series of promising moves broke down as the visitors repeatedly cleared the ball from the danger area.
And Boyle saw his angled shot rebound off the far post as Congleton held on for the win.
Tuesday night’s rescheduled game at 1874 Northwich again fell victim to the weather, with Colne now hosting the tie on Tuesday night (kick-off 7-45 p.m.).
On Saturday, the Reds are at Abbey Hey in Premier Division action (kick-off 3 p.m.).