Stockton Town slipped to a disappointing home defeat as they went down to 2-1 against Brighouse Town.
First half goals from Mohammed Qasim and Jack Boyle put Brighouse in command.
Stephen Thompson netted late on but it proved to be only a consolation for the Anchors.
Michael Dunwell named three changes to the side that lost 1-0 at Bridlington Town in their last outing. Callum Roberts returned in goal for the first time since suffering a broken arm in November. Glen Butterworth came back following his suspension for a red card against Grantham Town. Matty Tymon also made his return up front.
Brighouse made a lively start in the game with Jack Boyle striking over from outside the box inside two minutes.
Boyle was involved again with a corner which defender Sam Reed diverted narrowly wide at the front post.
Stockton had their first opportunity to take the lead when a searching ball from Tom Coulthard tried to play in Isaac Walker but goalkeeper Jamie Hassall came rushing out to deal with it.
Brighouse transitioned quickly and Qasim forced Callum Roberts into a foot save at the near post.
Neat work on the right found Walker again who tried to glide the ball in with the outside of his boot but it sailed wide.
In the 19th minute, Brighouse struck the opener when Qasim picked up a loose ball on the right before he drove into the penalty area and emphatically fired into the roof of the net.
Stockton tried to answer back- Kev Hayes sent in a deep cross from the left which was headed wide at the back post by Tymon.
Hayes again tried to assist Tymon with another cross but the latter was unable to make a clean connection which allowed Brighouse to clear.
The Anchors were given another warning from their visitors when Boyle’s corner was once again met by a free Reed who narrowly missed the target.
Shortly before half time, Brighouse struck the decisive second goal when great work Qasim on the right saw him play the ball into Boyle who rifled into the bottom corner.
Early in the second half, Callum Roberts had to be alert as he denied a third Brighouse goal by stopping a one-on-one effort.
Stockton were unable to conjure up many opportunities with a Hayes freekick straight at the goalkeeper one of the few chances.
Callum Roberts once again proved quite sharp on his return with another good save to deny Qasim one-on-one.
Tymon also had a half chance when his low strike was straight at the goalkeeper.
Qasim continued to create problems for Stockton and he almost set up with a third with a cross which was headed over by Sam Drake.
The Anchors never really tested Hassell. First, Thompson fired over from outside the area and then substitute Nathan Mulligan struck over inside the area after he was found by a low cross from Hayes.
Callum Roberts again persevered Stockton’s chances with an excellent low save down to his right after Cole Roberts had steered a cross from the right towards goal.
Substitute Cameron Painter tried to make an impact on the game. He had the opportunity with a couple of corners. The first was put wide by Coulthard at the back post.
The second got the Anchors on the scoresheet as Thompson ghosted in to head home at the back post.
That proved to be a consolation and Stockton fell to defeat.
Next week Stockton Town make their debut trip to Carlton Town.
Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King, McWilliams, Portas, Hall (N.Mulligan 66), Coulthard, Hayes, Butterworth (Painter 71) , Tymon (Beddow 68), Thompson, Walker
Unused Subs: D.Mulligan, McDonald.
Brighouse Town: Hassall, Nebard, Grant, Gregory, Dacre, Reed, Clarke, Drake, Benjamin-Potts (Roberts 77), Boyle (Thomas 87), Qasim
Unused Subs: Hussain, King, Souter.
Goals: 0-1, 19 min, Qasim; 0-2, 43 min, Boyle; 1-2, 89 min, Thompson.
Referee: Daniel Ranson
Photo: Harry Cook
Words: James Cartwright