BOSS Albert Dearing declared Purton Reserves out of the Wiltshire Premier title race after they stumbled to a 4-3 defeat at home to Shrewton.
Purton are now without a single point in three games following earlier losses to Ludgershall and league leaders Wilts Calne Town, and Dearing believes his side cannot catch Calne at the top.
“We've had a bad couple of weeks and are out of the title completely now,” said the Red House boss.
“We should have won both games in the last two weeks comfortably, but we're having a lot of bad luck. Any shot against us seems to go in.”
That was the tale of the game against Shrewton on Saturday, when Purton were the dominant force for the majority of proceedings but somehow contrived to lose.
Despite starting brightly in the opening 20 minutes, the home side found themselves a goal down.
Purton had four shots cleared off the line and hit the post twice before Devan Bryan headed them level and Adam Mayhew made it 2-1 at half-time.
Twice more after the break the hosts rattled the woodwork and two more efforts were stopped by last-ditch clearances, but the game appeared sewn up when Billy Sly converted a well-struck free kick.
Bryan limped off with a hamstring problem and Dearing's decision to throw on a couple of substitutes ultimately backfired as Shrewton smashed in three unanswered goals.
“We threw the game away and it has to go down as a bad decision by the manager,” added Dearing.
“They had a couple of lively guys up front who punished us on the break, but we couldn't believe we'd lost after the game.”
Elsewhere in the division, Blyskawica edged a 2-1 victory over Marlborough with Darren Kyle scoring a brace.
In Division One, league leaders Madames finally suffered their first defeat of the season as they were sunk 2-0 at Intel.
Ashton Keynes thumped Wilton 8-2 and Nalgo and AFC Wroughton shared a 2-2 draw.
In the Senior KO Cup, Chippenham Park kept their slim hopes of the double alive with a 6-2 win first-round win over Wroughton FC.