ARDLEY United’s promotion hopes suffered a blow at the weekend when they were beaten 3-0 by mid-table Highmoor Ibis.
The promotion-chasers went into the game in good form but they produced a poor performance to slip to a defeat which sees them go 13 points behind the Hellenic Premier Division leaders Marlow.
On a bitterly cold afternoon, Ardley started the stronger and when they hit the bar early on it looked as if they would be too strong for the home side.
But as the game progressed Highmoor seized control and dominated possession before taking the lead when Simon Eade scored off the post from an acute angle.
With only one goal in it at half time, the match could have gone either way as Joe White saved well to deny the hosts a second goal.
However, a woeful error from Ardley gifted Highmoor a second. Having been awarded a free-kick in midfield, Ardley passed the ball straight back to the hosts and a quick through ball found Ian Griffiths, who buried his shot to make it 2-0.
Pushing for a way back into the game, United were met with stern defending and things then got worse for Kevin Brock’s side when Dean Smith was sent off, although Highmoor missed the resulting penalty.
Despite Ardley looking the likelier to score, it was the home side who scored next to wrap up the points when a mistake from goalkeeper White allowed Liam Ferdinand to roll the ball into an empty net to seal a miserable afternoon for the visitors.
This weekend, Ardley travel to Shrivenham, who are bottom of the table with seven points and a -59 goal difference from 20 games.