Kilsyth Rangers' hopes of top flight football suffered a blow when they went down 1-0 to Kilwinning Rangers at Duncansfield in their first leg of their promotion play-off.
The defeat leaves Keith Hogg's side with a tough task in the second leg in Ayrshire on Friday night.
Despite having the best of the game, Kilsyth couldn't get the ball over the line.
They made a good start and had the visitors pinned back in their own half for the opening 10 minutes or so with a good penalty claim turned down.
Nicky Prentice made a few good runs and there were several good chances created, but the final touch was lacking with shots being put just past or blocked by the Kilwinning defence.
Paul McBride had a couple of chances but his usual touch was lacking on the night.
Ian Diack too had at least one great opportunity but sent the ball well over the bar.
A yellow card for Hardie had the visiting fans howling in derision at the referee but in general he was controlling the game well and letting it flow.
As half-time approached it was rather worrying that Kilsyth had been so much in control but failed to take advantage; and almost inevitably a free-kick award with just a minute to go to the break gave Kilwinning the advantage.
Carlo Monti put in a cracking delivery from just outside the box which hit the inside of the near post before ending up behind Andy Carlin.
The visitors had the best of the opening spell in the second half but Kilsyth came back strongly and looked certain to level matters when Diack was right through on the keeper, but his shot slipped just past the far post.
Kilwinning also had their moments and Carlin was well tested by a long range shot from McCluskie.
It was end to end stuff with Kilsyth probably having more of the possession and pressure but the final ball into the Kilwinning goal area was poor at times.
The best chances were coming from solo efforts and Prentice looked certain to score when also right through on Strain but his shot was also just inches wide of the mark.
Changes were made by both teams and with the game going into added time a free-kick award in almost the same position as Kilwinning had scored from gave Kilsyth a final chance.
Mark Tyrrell stepped up but his shot wasn't on target and the chance to salvage a draw was gone.