Alfreton Town slipped to sixth spot in the Skrill Premier after their defeat at Southport by the odd goal in three on Tuesday night.
Job Ayo Akinde had given the Reds a 49th minute lead, but a Nick Fenton own goal and a late winner from Osayamen Osawe sealed Alfreton’s fourth away defeat from five on their travels.
Fielding an unchanged team for the fourth game, Alfreton soaked up early pressure from Southport to make their presence felt, although Akinde’s rapid acceleration into the area after just 100 seconds had needed a timely tackle back by Luke George.
Karl Ledsham’s sixth minute shot was blocked by Michael Wylde, then David Fitzpatrick’s cross from the left looped up off Bradley Wood and landed on the roof of Ross Atkins’s net.
A rasping drive by Osawe in the ninth minute produced a superb save from Atkins, then it was Southport keeper Danny Hurst’s turn to save the day by racing to the edge of his area to thwart Akinde.
Paul Clayton’s 26th minute header from a John McGrath free-kick was well saved by Hurst then Matty Challoner’s clearance from Akinde triggered three corners in quick succession for the visitors.
The latter stages of the first half were scrappy at best with play continually fragmented by petty fouls.
As the interval approached, McGrath saw a deep free-kick cleared by Challoner and Atkins had to be alert to deal with a Fitzpatrick volley.
Four minutes into the second half, Alfreton nudged ahead when Fenton’s header from a McGrath corner was blocked on the line by a forest of legs, before Akinde followed up by blasting the ball past Hurst from six yards to make it 1-0.
Jamie Milligan’s 25 yarder struck the angle of crossbar and upright on the hour mark, then seven minutes later Southport were level after Fitzpatrick’s wayward volley from a Milligan corner struck Fenton and diverted into the net.
Both sides had contributed to a lively and entertaining contest, but the hosts grabbed the points seven minutes from time.
Osawe headed past Atkins after James Smith had directed a left-wing corner back across goal.