For the second week in a row Sheffield FC were beaten by a team from the lower reaches of Division One South as Club slumped to a disappointing 4-1 defeat against third bottom Rainworth Miners Welfare at Dronfield.
Former Dinnington Town striker Ant Lynam bagged a hat-trick as Sheffield's hopes of reaching the play-offs begin to fade.
Lynam had already forced Dan Whatsize into a good save after racing clear when he burst through a static defence on 14 minutes to score with a clinical finish. Whatsize was beaten again four minutes before the break with Craig Mitchell scoring a powerful drive after latching onto a threaded through ball. It could have got worse before the break had Whatsize not made a superb block from Lynam.
Lynam bagged his second and the visitors third on 58 minutes after racing clear on goal. Nathaniel Foster gave Club a glimmer of hope when he curled a fine effort into the corner from the edge of the box.
However, it was from the young strikers' wayward pass that Lynam was able to run on and complete his hat-trick six minutes from time. There was still time for Sheffield's afternoon to get worse when Andy Gascoigne was given a straight red following a late challenge just before the final whistle.
In the Premier Division, a third defeat in the space of eight days saw Stocksbridge Park Steels slip into the relegation zone. Steels twice led at Nantwich Town, where there were three goals inside the opening 10 minutes, before ending up on the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline. Colin Marrison headed in at the far post to give Stocksbridge a second minute lead and although Jordan Connerton-on-loan from Crewe Alexandra-equalised two minutes later, Richard Stirrup's fine 20-yard volley restored the visitors lead on seven minutes.
But Nantwich were back on level terms on 28 minutes courtesy of a Chris Flynn free-kick then went in front for the first time five minutes later as Connerton bagged his second.
Nantwich's top score Michael Lennon extended the lead midway through the second half from close range before Steels reducing the deficit through Marrison's low drive six minutes from time then were unlucky not to grab a share of the spoils in the last minute stoppage time when Andy Ring's powerful drive struck the underside of the crossbar.
Frickley Athletic climbed out of the bottom four after an excellent 6-3 win at Ashton United aided by two own-goals and a Kevin Sanasy hat-trick. Dan Smith sliced the ball into his own net to give Athletic a 12th minute lead and although the home side hit back to level through Ryan Crowther, the visitors went in at the break leading 3-1 with a Sanasy brace late in the half.
Crowther reduced the deficit with his second seven minutes after the break but Frickley restored the three goal cushion on 61 minutes when Craig Fisher strike went on off home goalkeeper Ian Bennett with Ashley Burbeary excellent 70th minute chip make it 5-2.
Ashton pulled one back eight minutes later through Aaron Burn before Sanasy completed his treble with almost the last kick of the game.
Ross Hannah hit his 30th goal of the season as Matlock Town beaten Worksop Town 1-0 in the promotion clash at Causeway Lane to inflict a first league defeat on the Tigers under Martin McIntosh. The decisive moment came in the 21st minute when Michael Simpkins' attempted back header saw Hannah nip in to lob the ball over Jon Kennedy to give the Gladiators a fourth win on the trot.
Bottom of the table Retford United are 15 points from safety after FC United of Manchester left Cannon Park with all three points form a 4-0 win. United goalkeeper Sam Ashton opened the scoring on three minutes with a wind assisted kick downfield that sailed over his embarrassed counterpart Luke Herriott.
Jerome Wright added a second on 21 minutes after a surging run before United wrapped up the points with two goals in six minutes in the second half through Matt Wolfenden and Jake Cotterill that saw the visitors pull four points clear of the drop zone.
FIXTURES - Tuesday - League Cup Second Round: Durham City v Sheffield FC, Hucknall Town v Worksop Town.
Premier Division: Chasetown v Matlock Town, North Ferriby United v Frickley Athletic.