Little Common Football Club's quest to reach the FA Vase first round proper for the first time ended in disappointment.
The Commoners conceded two second half goals to lose 2-0 at home to Wick in second round qualifying at a sunny Recreation Ground on Saturday, despite the visitors finishing with 10 men.
Common went into the tie unbeaten in seven matches and targeting a third higher level scalp in 15 days, but they failed to scale the heights of their excellent 4-0 win over Chichester City four days previously.
Common played the first four minutes with 10 men and defender George Aston in goal as they waited for goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell to arrive.
The opening 25 minutes were largely uneventful, aside from Joe Gromett lobbing over and heading wide for Wick, and Russell Eldridge seeing a deflected 25-yard strike clip the outside of the post for Common.
The game got a bit feisty during the latter part of the first half, with both teams picking up a couple of bookings.
The two best chances of the half came within seconds of each other. After Lewis Hole failed to make telling contact with an inviting Jamie Crone cross for Common, Wick broke down the other end and won a penalty when Andrew Chick was upended by Cruttwell as he tried to round him. Robert Hutchings rolled the spot-kick wide, however.
Crone fired into the side-netting in first half added time, but Wick were the better side during the second period and two goals in the space of 12 minutes put them in charge.
The opener came in the 55th minute when a nicely-executed break ended with Gromett squaring for Hutchings to roll a left-foot shot in off the post.
There was a touch of controversy about the second goal when Chick's right wing corner was fired into the top corner by Kieron Playle-Howard. Common appealed for handball, but the referee felt the scorer used his shoulder.
Missing the creative talents of Liam Foster, Common were offering little attacking threat, although the sending-off of Wick full-back Jack Bingham for a second yellow card in the 75th minute gave them hope.
Eldridge's resulting free kick was pushed aside by away goalkeeper Jordan Matthews. Common's player-manager later delivered a cross which Crone volleyed over from a great position in front of goal.
Moments before that, Gromett poked wide at the other end after intercepting George Aston's under-hit back pass.
One piece of good news for Common was the return of Adam Smith as a substitute after an injury nightmare dating back to a broken leg sustained on Easter Monday 2014.
Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood, Cooper, Eldridge, Ammoun (Bristow), Aston, Denny (Smith), Saville, Hole, Crone, Burgon (Wells). Sub not used: Curteis.
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