MALVERN Town crashed out of the FA Vase at the very first hurdle after being edged out 3-2 by lower-ranked Rugby Borough in the first qualifying round.
The Hillsiders had taken an eight-minute lead on Saturday through an own-goal but the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division hosts drew level after 25 minutes when Jordan Simms broke through on goal before rounding keeper Charlie Weaver and slotting home into an empty net.
Borough then took the lead just after the half hour mark when another sharp break was finished off by Luke Jones.
The hosts then carved Malvern open once again with Adam Shaw doubling their advantage.
Curtis Smith reduced the arrears for the visitors just before the break but no more goals followed as Borough secured their place in the second qualifying round.
Hillsiders joint-boss Lee Hooper said: “We came out of the blocks slowly and didn’t stick to our game plan as we did in our last game.
“To their credit, our hosts were a well-drilled side who played some good football.
“They moved it around well and were sharper than us.
“That said, we managed to get our noses in front against the run of play but they were able to break through us too easily during that first half.
“I felt that we responded well to going 3-1 down and after that we were the better side for the remainder of the game.
“We created half-chances but couldn’t properly carve them open.”
Having been dumped out of the FA Cup and FA Vase in the space of a week, Malvern will hope for better fortunes on Saturday when they return to West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division action with a trip to AFC Bridgnorth.
“We’ll be looking for the right response,” added Hooper.
“The players know we expect more from them and our consistency levels need to be much better.
“Take nothing away from Rugby Borough because they did their job efficiently but we fell below the standards we expect and we’ll be working hard to put it right.”