CASTLE Hill failed to do themselves and Old Boltonians a title favour when they went down narrowly to Prestwich.
The Tonge Moor men remain second in the Premier Division, but reigning champions Prestwich are looking ominous with a huge number of games in hand on the three teams above them.
Prestwich, who pipped Old Bolts to the title by one point last season, are 14 points behind them with six games in hand.
They also have four matches in hand on third-placed Failsworth Dynamos and are two points behind them.
Castle Hill conceded two goals in the opening 20 minutes then rallied and pulled one back 15 minutes later when Rob Walsh broke, beat two men and rifled in a long-distance drive.
Hill were hampered by losing central midfielder Jason Perry to injury on 25 minutes, and the fates seemed against them when the strong wind dropped when they had it at their backs in the second half.
But with right-back Taylor Gildea and centre-half Dominic Collquit outstanding, they were always in the game.
Manager Rob Rostrong said: “They are a good team but we gave them a really good game and had chances to snatch a draw.
“To be fair, that would have been a little tough on them because they deserved to win but we stuck at it and played well against a side who will definitely be right up there again at the end of the season.”
One place and one point below Prestwich in fifth, albeit having played four more games, are Little Lever who continued their decent run of results with a 4-2 home victory over Old Blackburnians.
The Mytham Road men were always in control, but the victory did not come without a scare.
Coasting at 3-0 up in the second half, the margin was reduced to one before star man Leon Farrimond finally killed off the visitors with a late solo goal.
The winger also provided the assists for Scott Bingham’s 15th-minute opener, Lee Valentine’s headed goal five minutes later and Lee Valentine’s side-footed third.
And while Farrimond was pivotal to the victory, manager Lee Buckley picked out Bingham for special mention.
“That was his 14th goal of the season,” he said.
“I brought him in from the second team last season and he’s got hold of the number nine shirt and really made it his own.
“As a team it was a good performance in difficult conditions. We’re going quite well at the moment and we have a big game on Saturday against Castle Hill.”