FECKENHAM were unable to overcome the loss of playmaker Umit Eminoglu to injury as they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Knowle on Saturday.
The Millers, who dropped to fourth in Midland League Division Two, now trail the second-placed Robins by seven points, although they do have two games in hand. Leaders Solihull United are 11 above Feckenham, who have three matches in hand on the pace-setters.
Knowle looked the more confident outfit in the opening period and came close to scoring on numerous occasions, not least when Brandon Hague fired against the foot of the post from the edge of the box.
However, Feckenham had openings of their own as Jak Albutt and skipper Ben Welsh headed wide from Eminoglu corners and Jake Donnelly twice went close.
The breakthrough arrived when Jamie Hatfield, having twice made last-ditch tackles at the other end, was impeded in the Knowle box by visiting keeper Craig Johnson and up stepped Billy Garvey to coolly give the Millers the lead from the penalty spot.
It was 1-1 shortly into the second half when Hague centred for Steve Ruck who showed great composure before firing past the advancing Ryan Young.
The visitors soon had the lead when Zak Harbon teed up substitute Jordan Hall to slip a low shot into the net, but Feckenham rallied and Albutt glanced a header wide from Jack Cole’s corner.
With the hosts largely relying on set-pieces, it was Knowle who looked the more likely scorers and they duly made it 3-1 when Daniel Williams fouled the rampaging Hague on the right side of the box and Louis Bridges struck the resulting penalty low into the right corner of the net.
Jordan Adams’ deflected 15-yard shot found its way past Johnson to reduce the Millers’ arrears but they could not muster an equaliser and will bid to bounce back when they visit Fairfield Villa on Saturday.