STRETTON Eagles reserves lost out to title-chasing Ball Haye Green in their Staffordshire County League Premier Division clash at Shobnall Sports.
Green arrived handily placed in third and as hot favourites to take the points.
But a battling display from Stretton had the result in doubt until the final stages.
Eagles have been much improved recently by the return of Adam Henchcliffe and Richard Lonsdale, and boosted by a number of youngsters.
With an unprecedented turnover of players since the start of the season, it is to be hoped that this batch will show the fight that is required at this level.
Stretton started brightly, with Karl Chadfield and Todd Morris looking dangerous down the flanks.
The first real chance culminated in Andy Hoderin finding Lonsdale, who shot narrowly wide.
Green took the lead on 25 minutes when a poor Stretton free kick caught everyone cold and visiting centre forward Andy Teague scored with ease.
It was a great disappointment after a reasonable start but Stretton fought on, with Scott Wesson and Jimmy Easton driving from midfield.
The half ended with Dane Underhill, Pete Martin and Sam Alsobrook looking strong, but injury forced Harry Bullock off.
Ball Haye doubled their lead at the start of the second half with another strike from Teague.
Stretton rallied and came close through Sam Cartwright before Lonsdale went around the keeper to score on 82 minutes.
Eagles pushed for the equaliser but the misfortune they suffered at the hands of the referee continued when pleas for a belated penalty were waved away.
EAGLES: Bullock, Alsobrook, Martin, Underhill, Morris, Chadfield, Easton, Henchcliffe, Wesson, Hoderin, Lonsdale. Subs: Cartwright, Carlisle, Hilton, Burrows, Hadry.