CREWE FC missed a golden chance to pull away at the top of Division Two when their title hopes were dented by Whitchurch Alport on Saturday.
Fellow promotion-chasers Woodley Sports Reserves and Gamesley both slipped up, offering Ian O'Reilly's men the perfect opportunity to stretch their lead.
But their Shropshire neighbours, who started the game 20-points behind, fully deserved their win secured by Phil Denson's 75th minute effort.
O'Reilly was distraught: 'I can't believe how badly we played. To win a promotion you need consistency and we just can't find that.
'We haven't scored for two games and haven't even looked like it. It is a bit worrying.
'We had five or six players not performing and you can't carry that many. I asked the lads to have a look in the mirror and decide if they want to go up.'
Crewe were dealt a blow in midweek with the news that striker Jon Dawson will be out for at least another month after blood clots in his leg failed to completely clear.
Chris Hampshire and Dave Hanson started up front, but it was Alport's ex-Crewe man Gavin Day who caused problems all game.
Keeper Steve Harding made two exceptional saves in the first half, from Chris Morris and Scott Thomas, while Alport keeper Stuart Davies blocked Alan Brown's free-kick, thwarted Hampshire's goal-bound effort, and held Liam O'Reilly's 35-yards strike.
Alport shaded the second half of a scrappy affair on a poor pitch, and Crewe had no answer to Denson's glancing header.
Alport boss Andy Allmark said: 'We were outstanding and are now starting to put a little run together. The game was tight and both keepers were exceptional.'
Crewe entertain Warrington Town Reserves at the Razza, next to the Cumberland Arena, at 3pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Crewe FC reserves recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bentley. First half goals from Andy O'Neil and skipper Lee Blackburn provided the winning margin.
A super save by keeper Wes Newton was needed to preserve the advantage, while Brent Shepherd, Ian Carr and Danny Rogers put in outstanding displays.