A spirited performance from 10-man Town was not enough as Charnock Richard won 2-1 at the Mike Riding Ground.
There was great anticipation before the game with leaders Longridge going head to head with the team in third place.
Town started brightly and within the first 15 minutes could have been ahead with chances falling to Lennie Reid, Keiran Walmsley and Leon McLoughlin but noone were able to beat Gavin Bates in the Charnock goal.
Charnock were awarded a free kick after Troy Carsley was wrongly penalised for a foul.
Town didn’t clear their lines and the ball fell to Jamie Sanderson who scored a scorcher from just outside the area on the 31st minute.
A minute later things got worse for Town when striker Brad Carsley was shown a straight red for his reaction – retaliating right under the nose of the referee.
The 10 men pushed for an equaliser but two minutes before half-time David Burrows scored Charnock’s second – again Town not clearing the ball effectively.
The ball was crossed back in and Burrows beat Ryan White to the ball scoring with a diving header.
The home side came out brightly in the second half and pushed for a goal. It came in the 63rd minute when Reid launched a throw-in to Ryan McKenna who scored for the third consecutive game, firing past Bates.
A resilient performance by the 10 men but they could not find an equaliser against a strong Charnock Richard side who showed why they’ve won so many titles in the past few years.
Despite the result, manager Lee Ashcroft was proud of his team’s efforts.
“The first half I thought we were the better side and I don’t think we got the right result.
“But I’ve learned a lot about the side, yes they can play good football but today they showed they can work hard and roll their sleeves up.
“We were not outplayed despite having 10 men for an hour which is pleasing.
“But again we’ve given two goals away from set pieces. The first goal he took really well and the second was a cross back in from the corner which was a joke to give away to begin with.”