Notts County were beaten 1-0 by Cambridge United at Meadow Lane.
United defender Greg Taylor's first-half-header was enough to move the visitors further away from the drop zone as the Magpies' troubles worsened.
Notts went close on a couple of occasions but were unable to find the crucial breakthrough in front of 15,026 supporters.
Neal Ardley named his three January signings in his starting line-up, handing full debuts to goalkeeper Ryan Schofield and midfielder Jim O'Brien. Central defender Ben Barclay made his home bow after playing at Colchester last weekend.
Lewis Alessandra was given his first start since recovering from injury, sitting behind forwards Jon Stead and Kristian Dennis.
Rob Milsom and O'Brien shielded a three-man central defence of Pierce Bird, Richard Duffy and Barclay, with Cedric Evina and the returning Elliott Hewitt playing as wing-backs.
The match began in cagey fashion and there wasn't a real chance to speak of until the half-hour mark.
It fell to Dennis, who received the ball from Hewitt, spun with it in the area and sent a low effort wide of the far post.
Evina was looking threatening in attacking areas and nearly squeezed the ball home at the near post only for visiting goalkeeper David Forde to divert it out for a corner.
The balance of play began to swing in favour of Cambridge as half-time neared, however, and after Schofield had dived to his right to turn Brad Halliday's long-range effort wide, Colin Calderwood's men took the lead from the resultant corner.
Taylor rose highest in a crowd of bodies at the far post, looping a header back across goal and landing it in the corner of the net.
Notts nearly snuck an equaliser on the cusp of half-time, O'Brien seeing a low 20-yard effort tipped wide by Forde.
But the Magpies returned to the dressing room with it all to do.
There were no changes at the break but Notts' first substitution came on 66 minutes when Alessandra made way for Nathan Thomas in attacking midfield.
And Notts came so close to the equaliser moments later when Dennis nipped in ahead of Forde to meet Evina's low cross. The ball ran wide of goal but the forward managed to get to it before it went out, rolling it agonisingly along the goal line and just past the far post.
Further clear-cut chances were proving hard to come by, however, and as the clock ticked down towards full-time Ardley sent young forward Kion Etete on in place of Evina.
Notts were now in a 3-4-3 formation with Thomas down the left and Hewitt on the right.
And the former had an opportunity to play the hero in the final throes of normal time when he took charge of a free-kick 25 yards out.
But he could only float the ball over the bar, sending Notts into six minutes of added time desperate for a goal.
It wasn't to come, however, as Calderwood's men picked up a big victory to aid their own fight against the drop.