Buxton have fallen further behind the play-off pack after going down 3-2 to promotion chasers Ashton United at the Silverlands.
Gary Gee opened the scoring from the spot for Ashton, Liam Hardy then bundled in to level but just before the interval Kevin Leadbetter put the visitors back in front.
Ashton extended their authority and their lead in the second half when Dale Johnson bagged the visitors third – Hardy ten minutes from time narrowed the gap.
On a glorious spring afternoon, it was the home side that should have taken the lead just minutes into the game.
Arron Jameson’s long thump upfield bounced over Ashton’s Greg Pearson but Hardy couldn’t keep his shot down.
As the wind picked up, so did the Buxton pressure and as Ashton struggled to clear their lines, a great piece of trickery from Barraclough beat two defenders but his shot was tame.
Then, on 18 minutes, Ashton took the lead against the run of play.
Palmer had his pocket picked inside his own half by Gee who ventured forward and slipped in Pilkington – as he entered the box he was felled by Alex Byrne just inside the area.
Gee stepped up and slotted it home sending Jameson the wrong way.
The penalty scorer was minutes later booked for a strong challenge on Byrne.
Bucks responded on the half-hour mark to draw level.
Laurie Wilson’s delicious curling free-kick caused chaos along the Ashton backline and Hardy powered home on the bounce from around three yards out.
Ashton began to press forward and Pearson very nearly left Jameson red-faced as his deep cross beat everyone and the Bucks’ stopper had to stretch to turn it behind. That Ashton pressure paid off on 41 minutes as they re-took the lead.
Buxton failed to clear their lines as Leadbetter’s 25-yard fizzing strike managed to go through a sea of bodies and squirm passed Jameson.
The home side came out for the second half with their tails up as Shaun Tuton showed some neat skills to get to the byline but his delivery sailed over.
Ashton should then have extended their lead as the Bucks switched off, but Pilkington was denied by a defiant Jameson.
Buxton were all at sea as Ashton extended their lead further on 65 minutes.
A bobbling ball in the middle was pounced upon by Gee who sent the imposing figure of Dale Johnson over the top – he shrugged off a challenge and expertly lifted the his effort over Jameson.
Substitute Alastair Taylor went close to narrowing Ashton’s lead five minutes later when his effort fizzed just wide.
But after a dull period of play, Bucks were handed a lifeline out of nowhere as they got back into the game.
Hardy raced forward onto a long ball from inside the half and, under pressure from two defenders, he showed great composure to roll it passed the advancing Phillips.
The visitors had ten men behind the ball as four minutes of stoppage time went up and despite the Bucks throwing everything forward, Ashton managed to hang on.
Bucks: Jameson, Byrne, Palmer Meynell, Green, Niven, Wilson, Nelthorpe, Barraclough, Tuton, Hardy.
Follow us on Twitter - @Buxton_News