Holwell Sports slipped into the bottom three of the United Counties League Division One after they were edged out in a hard-fought encounter at Bourne Town.
With the early exchanges pretty even on Saturday, chances at either end were at a premium.
Bourne’s Murphy was the busiest of the two keepers, but he dealt confidently with efforts from Harris, Ambrose and McGarry.
At the other end, Bourne’s danger man Munton was kept in check until the half-hour mark when a free-kick near the halfway line was taken quickly, catching Holwell off guard.
Munton timed his run perfectly to go one-on-one with Challis, and the number seven confidently went round the Holwell keeper to stroke home the opening goal.
Holwell responded positively with two inviting crosses which just eluded Harris and then McGarry.
Another good move on the edge of the Bourne area between McGarry and Ambrose ended with Murphy making a superb save to deny Holwell an equaliser.
At the other end, Munton made his way to the byline and pulled back for Bittriel who blasted wide from a good position.
Holwell began the second half with a decent spell of pressure, but failed to turn it into goals and were made to pay when Munton did well to hold off a couple of defenders and shoot low past Challis.
With Holwell pushing for a goal to get them back in the game, both sides had openings they didn’t take, but Bourne could count themselves lucky when their big centre-forward Mason lashed out after a foul by Bitmead and received just a yellow card.
Holwell brought on Wright, Clayton and Hazeldine to give them fresh legs and should have pulled a goal back when Hendey skipped past Cardall and Ramsden and drilled a low cross right across the crowded six-yard box, which somehow eluded three Holwell forwards.
Holwell continued to press and almost reduced the deficit when debutant striker Brookes beat keeper Murphy with his header, but Ramsden was on hand to clear off the line.
Bourne’s defence was finally breached with five minutes remaining, when Hendey again tormented Cardell and Elger in the Bourne penalty area before being upended.
Betteridge dispatched the spot-kick with little fuss.
With time running out Munton was denied by Challis, and Holwell’s Brookes was unable to direct his header on target from a good position, with the cross inches too high.
Holwell are 18th, but within two points of 13th place in a congested bottom half of the table.
They now face successive home matches, starting with the visit of league leaders Lutterworth Town on Saturday (ko 3pm) followed by the return fixtures against Bourne the following weekend.