Our three-game winning streak came to an end as we suffered a disappointing defeat at Aldershot.
Mikail Ndjoli’s early goal was cancelled out by a Cal Roberts penalty, only for Tommy Willard to restore the hosts’ lead before the break.
Having dominated the vast majority of the play in the opening period we struggled to get our game going after the break and substitute Sinclair Armstrong put the game beyond doubt late on with an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Salt was then rubbed into the wounds deep into stoppage time as Dion Kelly-Evans received a second yellow card.
Ian Burchnall made four changes to the side that won at Dover in midweek, with Vit Jaros, Connell Rawlinson, Kelly-Evans and Zak Brunt coming in for Sam Slocombe, Alex Lacey, Jayden Richardson and Elisha Sam.
With Kyle Wootton on the bench, Ruben Rodrigues continued up front and he missed a big chance to give us a fourth-minute lead when Aaron Nemane’s low cross was parried to him six yards out. He could only send the ball wide.
And we were punished four minutes later when a low cross at the other end was put away this time, Ndjoli making no mistake from close range.
It had been the hosts’ first foray forward and we resumed control of the game straightaway, Roberts seeing his snapshot pushed away by the keeper.
But the Geordie wasn’t to be denied a goal much longer as, after Rodrigues was tripped when he was about to shoot in the area, Roberts dispatched the spotkick to bring us back on terms.
It looked like only one team would kick on and bag the next goal but we were left shellshocked when, with only their second shot and meaningful attack of the game, the hosts restored their lead on 34 minutes when Willard lashed the ball home from the edge of the box.
Rawlinson saw a goalbound header diverted wide and Roberts fired over from the resultant corner as we looked to level once more before the break.
But it wasn’t to come as we headed back into the dressing room behind.
There were no changes at half-time but, shortly after Rawlinson underhit a backpass and watched on as Jaros made a good save, the centre back joined Brunt in heading for the bench with Harry Arter and Kyle Wootton coming on.
Shortly after the hour another good opportunity passed Rodrigues by as he failed to connect properly with his header from Kelly-Evans’ cross and, moments later, Wootton saw a left-footed effort diverted over.
While not being anywhere near our free-flowing best we continued to press for the next goal, Arter crossing the ball into the middle and Kelly-Evans flicking a header over the bar.
But, after Rodrigues missed another good chance when he lashed substitute Sam’s cross over inside the area, Armstrong made sure of the points with a rocket of a finish from the edge of the area.
Seven minutes were added on at the end of the match but the only notable incident came when Kelly-Evans was adjudged to have pulled back his winger near half way, earning him his second yellow card and adding to the frustrations of yet another fruitless trip to the EBB Stadium.
Starting XI: Jaros; Chicksen, Graham, Rawlinson, Kelly-Evans; Francis, Palmer; Nemane, Brunt, Roberts; Rodrigues
Unused subs: Richardson, O’Brien
Yellow cards: Kelly-Evans 43’, Palmer 67’, Arter 78’, Chicksen 78’, Francis 90’
Red cards: Kelly-Evans 90’ (second yellow)
Attendance: 1,969 (452)