NESTON South Wirral’s recent poor form continued as a weakened side slumped 2-1 in a dire local derby at Oxton II.
On his first team debut, veteran striker Mark Wilkie struck a post early on for Neston, but chances were generally scarce for both sides in a scrappy encounter.
Chris Lovell put Oxton ahead midway through the first half when he reacted quickest to a corner rebound, while the speedy Kwan Chung-Bennett always threatened going forward for the home side.
Neston were more committed in the second period, but a number of penalty corners were wasted before Dan Khedun rifled in an equaliser.
Pete Cole then punished the visitors with the decisive goal as he fired into the bottom corner from a set piece.
Oxton could have increased their lead late on but squandered a couple of good chances as Neston left gaps at the back.
This Saturday, Neston entertain league leaders Knutsford at the recreation centre (1.30 start).
Meanwhile, Oxton travelled to Wakefield on Saturday in the Northern Premier league and suffered a disappointing 5-1 reverse to the Yorkshire based side.
Oxton started brightly but struggled to cope with the playing conditions and found themselves 3-0 down at half time.
They continued to miss opportunities in the second half before Sion Owen grabbed a consolation from a short corner.
Oxton will hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to league leaders Deeside Ramblers this coming Saturday.