Holwell Sports came close to beating the title-chasing Saints on Saturday after a monumental second half fightback.
If two late chances had been taken, the visitors, winless in 11, would have snatched an unlikely three points at a team who boast an 11-match unbeaten run.
With yet another patched-up side and only two substitutes, manager Simon Daws was finally able to field talisman Michael Stevenson in midfield, and Michael Hallam back in defence.
With Graham Wells and Julian Joachim also clicking better up front, chinks of light are appearing to hint the team may yet dig themselves out of this deep hole of despair.
The mood looked anything-but-hopeful for the travelling faithful after 16 minutes with the hosts already 2-0 up thanks to a Shay Brennan double. And when Andy fell scored a third on 23 minutes a long afternoon looked in prospect for the visitors.
Holwell keeper Cropper was doing his best with two good saves to keep the score down, but Bitmead and Hallam were having a torrid time in central defence to stem the St Andrews attacks.
Bit by bit Holwell started to get some moves going and before half-time were beginning to show there was something there to salvage if things started going their way.
Joachim sent Wells away on 44 minutes, but his shot went just past the left post, and a score at this point would have been deserved for the hard work shown since going so far behind so early.
St Andrews became the side under pressure as Holwell finished the half strongest with Joachim shooting just over from the edge of the box.
The second half started as it finished with Holwell looking more comfortable, and against all odds they got one back on 50 minutes when Joachim broke into the box and scored off the inside of the post.
St Andrews hit back, but Cropper made a brilliant point-blank save low down at his left-hand post.
For all of Saints breakaways, their final finish left a lot to be desired as Fell again let Holwell off the hook as he shot wide.
Wells was put through again by Joachim as they continued to work well up front, but keeper Antcliffe did well to deny the striker.
The visitors were having the better of the play and the big fightback looked on after 63 minutes when Joachim nodded down well into the path of Wells who finished well.
St Andrews tried to respond, but it was Holwell who were on top as the game wore on. Opportunities were beginning to come as the whole team put in a superb second half performance.
Purkis, who produced another good display in a Holwell shirt, broke out from defence and sent a great ball through to Joachim. He presented Wells with another one-on-one chance, but the keeper again came off best when the forward looked favourite to claim a deserved equaliser.
Had the luck gone with Holwell in the final 10 minutes, Wells could have left with the matchball under his arm had it run more kindly for him.