Marcus Harness and Port Vale enjoyed mixed fortunes over the weekend as they followed up Saturday's 4-0 win over Luton Town with a 1-0 loss to Notts County on New Year's Day.
Matches against the top two teams in League Two were always likely to be tricky for the Valiants.
But on-loan Burton Albion man Harness helped his side to a shock victory over the fourth-tier leaders in their final game of 2017 with another energetic display on the wing.
Tom Pope scored twice, in between Dan Potts' own goal and Ben Whitfield's strike, to send Vale up to 16th in the table before the new year, 11 points clear of the drop.
There was to be no repeat on Monday, though, with Kevin Nolan's second-placed County side edging Neil Aspin's men at Meadow Lane.
And it was Harness who helped decide the Valiants' fate after he was adjudged to have brought down Jon Stead in the 85th minute, with Stead picking himself up to convert the penalty.
Elsewhere, Marcus Dinanga's Telford United continued their lean run with a 2-0 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers in National League North.
Dinanga came off after 75 minutes, with Harriers left-back Joel Taylor having marshalled the dangerous frontman well. Telford had previously drawn 0-0 with Kidderminster in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.
There was plenty of Burton Albion interest at Christchurch Meadow on New Years' Day when Aaron Webster's Belper Town faced off against Gresley in Evo-Stik NPL Division One South.
The Nailers were unable to bounce back from Saturday's 8-1 thrashing at the hands of Lincoln United with a positive result, though.
On-loan Albion academy goalkeeper Callum Hawkins kept a clean sheet for the visitors as the Moatmen bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Chasetown on Saturday to defeat the Nailers 2-0.
Hawkins' fellow Brewers loanee midfielder Jack Hallahan, was introduced in the 69th minute for the home side but couldn't help Belper back into the game after Matt Melbourne's first-half double.
Reece Hutchinson and Jayden Cotterill started both of Romulus' matches over the New Year, their 2-2 draw with Carlton Town on Saturday followed by a 2-1 defeat to Alvechurch on Monday.