League leaders Newark Flowserve suffered their first defeat of the season in the Notts Senior League Premier Division as they came unstuck against a determined Cavaliers side.
They made a slow start against one of the league’s stronger sides, and were unable to recover as they dropped points for the first time in 24 matches.
The game was hastily arranged on Saturday morning to take place on Cavaliers’ 4G pitch, after Flowserve’s original fixture at Awsworth Villa was postponed.
Manager Craig Roche said the poor start proved costly.
“I think we were caught cold and were a bit sloppy, which led to them going two goals ahead and from that position you are really struggling,” he said.
“Cavaliers are a very good team and one of the best footballing sides in the league so if you do not play well then you can get punished.
“We did come back strongly and created a lot of chances, but we were given a bit of a footballing lesson.”
Roche said Flowserve had not been obsessed with completing the season unbeaten, but admitted the defeat gave them one less thing to think about.
“The unbeaten run was not something we were focused on anyway. From the start of the season it was always about getting top four,” he said.
“Obviously we had a great start and our targets changed after this run, but I think it created a bit of pressure to keep it up.
“Looking back I am proud of the lads for what they have achieved so far to win as many as we have, and we will look to push forward again.”
Cavaliers were ahead within three minutes, when a defensive mix-up allowed their striker to go through on goal and lift the ball over keeper Nathan Burrows.
They never fully recovered from the opening strike before a second effort was expertly placed into the corner.
It took the visitors a while to get into the match, and Jack Beckett had their first effort with a crisp strike just over the bar.
Flowserve were then on top for much of the half, but struggled to create clear chances as James Lloyd’s close-range strike was ruled out after Cavaliers effectively played the offside trap from a free-kick.
James Cullingworth shot just wide after good interplay with Sam Agar, while Elliott King’s header was tipped just over before the break.
Flowserve started full of intent in the second-half and, after a prolonged period of pressure, Agar hit over when well placed.
Daryl Price went close when he found space down the right, but his shot was beaten away by the keeper.
A second goal was ruled out for offside, with this decision much tighter, and Lee Potts saw a driven effort diverted away from goal.
Cavaliers, who had not created many chances besides their goals, added a third in stoppage time.
Burrows came out for the loose ball too late, and it was played into the path of a striker to tap into the empty net.
Flowserve aim to return to winning ways when they host Bilborough Town on Saturday.