AFTER nine games without defeat, Barnstaple Town finally came unstuck in the Toolstation Western League.
Chard Town had already given them a warning of the threat they posed.
And the Somerset side took away Barnstaple's proud unbeaten record when they left Mill Road with a 2-1 win on Tuesday night.
Chard had been one of Barum's trickier opponents in their strong start in the First Division, with a Billy Tucker free kick clinching a hard-fought 1-0 away win in the second game of the season.
This time, Barnstaple saw a set piece from Jed Harper-Penman clip the crossbar as they were unable to avoid a first league defeat.
All the goals came in the first half. Barnstaple were dominant for much of the second but could not add to Harper-Penman's 27th-minute penalty.
With Bradford Town and Cribbs both winning, Barnstaple slipped one place to third – nine points behind leaders Bradford but with games in hand on both sides.
Barnstaple were missing three key players from the spine of their team – goalkeeper Ryan Draper, midfielder Sam Stephens and striker Billy Tucker – but they made a bright start with Ryan Turner's fizzing left-foot shot being tipped on to the bar by Jason Hutchings.
It was Chard who took the lead though, after the first of many decisions by the officials that angered the sides.
When the assistant referee waved his flag for an offside in the ninth minute, the Barnstaple defenders stopped. Of course, they should have played to the whistle, which is what Taoufik Ben Salem did as he put away the cross.
Ben Salem and Sam Clark both struck the frame of the goal in a two-minute spell midway through the first half. First, Ben Salem's shot from a tight angle slipped through the hands of Jimmy Thorne, deputising for Draper, and came back off the post. Then Thorne did better after Clark was played in by Andy Martin, keeping out the Chard striker's fierce shot with the help of his near post.
But Ben Salem beat Thorne again from the resulting corner, stabbing in after Mark Armstrong had won a header.
Within two minutes, Barnstaple had the chance to pull a goal back as Sam Spurway was judged to have wrestled Scott Sharp to the ground.
If Chard were unhappy with the penalty award, they were even more miffed after Hutchings, diving the wrong way, saved Harper-Penman's spot kick with his feet only for the assistant referee to say he had moved off his line too early.
From the second attempt, both Hutchings and Harper-Penman went in the opposite direction, with the Barnstaple man drilling the ball high into the net.
Just two minutes after that, Chard were furious that they were not awarded a penalty with Ben Salem seemingly pulled to the ground.
Five minutes before half time, the striker was forced off with a hamstring injury and Chard posed little threat to the Barnstaple goal until the closing stages when the home side were chasing an equaliser.
But for all their dominance and good build-up play in the second half, Barnstaple created few clear-cut opportunities.
Sharp saw an effort deflected wide, while Turner lost his marker but headed off target and, from Tom Rossiter's overhead flick, was superbly thwarted by Hutchings racing off his line to make a tackle.
It was Harper-Penman who posed the biggest danger to Chard's lead, volleying wide after Cory Roach's long throw-in and putting his 25-yard free kick against the bar, but he became isolated on the wing and was eventually substituted in the 85th minute.
"We did all the right things in the second half but we couldn't quite find the net," said Tom Bulley, the Barnstaple manager. "Any team that comes here and picks points up has done really well."