ECCLESHALL were on the receiving end 3-1 when entertaining leaders AFC Darwen in a North West Counties division one fixture on Saturday.
The Eagles were much-changed and they made the early running with Nathan Hunt testing Dan Fradd in the Darwen goal, the keeper diving to collect.
Eccleshall forced a couple of free kicks that led to nothing, while Bobby Langford shot just wide for the visitors.
The home side were playing some good football but were dealt a blow when leading scorer Lee Sunmmerfield got injured and had to be substituted on the half hour.
Good play by Dan Jones, Ryan Smith and Michael Davies opened up the Darwen defence but the move broke down when Jones failed to find a colleague.
As the game moved to half time, Darwen were gifted the lead when Jack Warren held onto the ball too long when moving out of defence and was dispossessed in midfield by Langford who raced away to score on 43 minutes.
Eccleshall, undeservedley, went further behind deep into added time when Langford did more damage.
The home side made a good start to the second half with Jones forcing Fradd to save. Smith then blasted over.
There were chances at both ends and Smith again had a great chance when a ball into the area found him on the edge the six yard box but his effort hit the bar and was cleared.
Darwen scored their third goal on 77 minutes when the Eccleshall defence failed to stop a cross and Langford completed his hat trick.
Eccleshall responded and pulled a goal back a minute later when Jones finished off a cross, but the leaders held out to take the points.
In the Staffs Senior League, Eccleshall AFC drew 0-0 at Audley.
This Saturday, Eccleshall entertain Chadderton in the NWC league (3pm), while Eccleshall AFC visit Ball Haye Green in the county league (2.30pm).