Barnstaple Town suffered a narrow defeat to Evo-Stik Division One South play-off hopefuls Evesham United on Saturday.
Toumani Sidibe’s finish from inside the penalty area midway through the first half was the difference between the two sides at the Jubilee Stadium.
Sidibe side-footed the ball past Steve Oliver after Barum failed to clear their lines, but there were plenty of protests from the visitors, who felt the ball had gone out of play before coming across to the scorer.
Barum applied pressure after the break. George Nancekivell went closes for the visitors, but his header from a corner was saved by Evesham goalkeeper Andy Hannah.
Barnstaple were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Saddam Bello was shown a red card after an off-the-ball incident.
Barnstaple manager Aaron Harper-Penman said: “It was a well contested game. The boys did very, very well and I’m happy with the performance. The only thing we didn’t do was score.
“They’re a good side so we set out with similar tactics to the win over Yate. The boys did everything we asked and I couldn’t ask for any more of them.
“We had chances, but coming away with a 1-0 defeat to a goal we didn’t think should have been allowed was frustrating.
“With the reaction from the lads you could tell it wasn’t right – they were adamant, and you don’t get that sort of reaction otherwise.”
Defeat and Mangotsfield United’s win at Thatcham Town means the gap between Barnstaple and safety is now five points, but Barum may yet be spared a lifeline.
Street have announced their resignation from the Southern League for next season, which may hand Barum a reprieve similar to the one they had last season.
Harper-Penman said: “It means we have a chance, but we can’t rely on it. We’ve got to go out and assume we are still in the relegation zone and we have got to fight for every point we can get to get out of it.
“If the decision means we are saved then happy days, but we can’t think about it until any decision is made.”
The first of four games left for Barnstaple comes on Saturday, when Cinderford Town come to Mill Road.
Cinderford were the opponents for Harper-Penman’s first game in charge of the club – a 6-0 defeat.
“It’s another top six team. It was a tough game up there for my first game so obviously we know how good they can be, but I know our boys are good enough and they have proved that.
“If we have anything like the support that we did two weeks ago it will be massive for us.”