Clitheroe’s fantastic 15-game unbeaten run was brought to an end as promotion contenders Ossett Town took maximum points at Shawbridge.
It was the first time that the Blues had finished on the wrong end of a result since early November, when they were narrowly beaten by Glossop North End, which was also the last time Simon Haworth’s side shipped three goals.
It was, though, the third time in four outings that Clitheroe had failed to score.
The visitors, four points adrift of leaders Lancaster City in the Evo-Stik First Division North table, went ahead after just four minutes when Alex Peterson gave goalkeeper Chris Thompson little chance with a superb glanciong header from a driven corner.
It took a while for Clitheroe to respond to the set back, in fact it was midway through the half when they finally registered a shot on goal.
Kurt Willoughby picked out George West following a burst down the left hand side but the forward’s shot on the turn from the edge of the box was well saved by the keeper.
The home side’s best chance came four minutes later when Alex Newby’s surge towards goal was ended abruptly on the edge of the box. Charlie Russell stepped up to take the resulting set-piece and his effort was met with a smart save from Leigh Overton.
Things got worse for the hosts on 33 minutes when Thompson failed to clear his lines convincingly from a long throw and Marcus Day was given the luxury of heading in to an empty net as the ball was looped back in to the box.
With the Blues still at sixes and sevens, Town continued to capitalise and put the game to bed in the 67th minute.
The away side attacked down the right hand flank and a whipped cross to the far post was converted by Ashley Jackson with a stinging half-volley.
Blues boss Haworth has been applauded for his willingness to hand the club’s youngsters an opportunity in his senior set up and 16-year-old substitute Adam Bolton almost repaid that faith late on only to see his shot smothered to safety after fashioing a great position in front of goal.
Clitheroe: Thompson, Bromley, Cattermole, Ellison, Benjamin, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, West. Subs used: Churchman, Williams, Bolton.
l The Blues, now seventh in the division and just two points adrift of Scarborough Athletic who occupy the final play-off place, travel to Stainton Park on Saturday to take on Radcliffe Borough.
They then host Trafford on Tuesday in the third round of the Integro League Cup with kick off scheduled for 7-45 p.m.