Old Loughtonians men were dealt a blow in the race for third in the Conference East after a 2-0 home defeat against Oxted on Saturday.
Loughts find themselves in a group of six teams battling it out for the position behind runaway leaders Southgate and Holcombe but two late goals from the visitors ensured the points went begging.
The game started with Oxted putting early pressure on their opponents and winning a number of short corners.
From the first attempt, the Oxted drag flick was comfortably saved by Dave Forrester in the Loughts goal and good defensive work by Stuart Hardy soon after saw the ball cleared away from the danger area.
After this early period of Oxted pressure, Loughts managed to build some momentum but the teams went into the half-time break without anyone registering on the scoresheet.
The second period was tight but, with the game looking to be heading to a stalemate, the deadlock was broken in controversial fashion in the 60th minute when Andy Cornick’s high pass was touched into the goal by the stick of Hardy.
With Loughts pushing for an equaliser, they were exposed at the back in the 69th minute when a baseline attack was initially saved by Forrester in goal, only for Chris Webster to bundle the ball home for 2-0.
Loughts ladies lost 3-2 at St Albans in the Conference East but there were more successful weekends for the ladies Seconds and Under-18 teams.
The Seconds booked their place in the final of the National England Hockey Ladies Second XI Cup with a 2-1 win over Beeston.
Loughts will face Bowden Seconds in the final on May 3.
Earlier in the day, the Loughts Under-18 girls made it through to the last four of the England Hockey Under-18 Cup with a 2-0 win over Wakefield.
Strong defending from Lucia Corry and Alice Wills and excellent goalkeeping from Abi Ashford kept the scores level before Emily Holmes netted twice in the second half to seal the win.
Loughts will now compete at the National Finals which will be held on their home ground on March 30.
Waltham Forest men pushed league leaders Cambridge City all the way before narrowly losing 4-3.
Forest came up against a side that thrashed them 6-0 earlier in the season but the return fixture at Cambridge was a very different affair.
The visitors produced an excellent team performance and were unlucky not to come away with a point as City got the winner in the final few minutes of the game.
Dan Metcalfe was the man-of-the-match after the keeper made a number of superb saves while Chris Drewe also impressed with his fine finishing.
Waltham Forest ladies travelled to Thurrock looking to keep their promotion hopes alive and came away with all three points after an impressive 7-1 win.
The visitors started strongly and were 1-0 up after a couple of minutes when player of the match Jenny Field finished calmly with a well-struck shot from the right of the D.
Forest continued to press their opponents high up the pitch and doubled their lead with a strike from top goalscorer Lucy Butcher.
Further efforts from Katherine Abbie and another from Field saw Forest go into the half-time break with a commanding 4-0 lead.
Thurrock were offered a glimmer of hope when they converted their only goal of the game shortly after the break but it proved to be only a consolation as Forest stepped up a gear.
The home goalkeeper ensured Forest didn’t reach double figures with some fine saves but further goals from Kate Murphy and a hat-trick from Field extended the lead. Abbie added a seventh a few minutes from the end to send her side into their top-of-the-table clash against Holcombe in great heart.
Crostyx men were thrashed 8-1 at Long Sutton in East Premier B but the ladies dealt out a drubbing of their own as they hammered Christchurch 9-0 in Division 2C.
The ladies are top of the table by two points.