Sleaford Town were left without Christmas cheer as they slipped to a frustrating home defeat to Peterborough Northern Star on Saturday.
Town dominated much of the match, but were foiled by a resilient defensive display by the visitors who held out for 90 minutes after scoring in the opening minute.
After plenty of rain in the 24 hours leading up to kick-off, the Eslaforde Park pitch was passed fit, but the Green Army slipped up in the worst possible start.
Conceding a corner shortly after kick-off, Sleaford failed to clear the set-piece, allowing Peterborough centre-half Jack Bloodworth to tap in.
The hosts took control of the game, but struggled to carve out clear-cut chances.
Greenwood fired over from a Brad Hockin corner, and Smith then had the ball in the net after 25 minutes, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Town maintained the pressure on the Star goal, and Coupland had an effort cleared off the line 10 minutes later as the frustration continued.
Despite being on the back foot for most of the half, Peterborough almost doubled the lead five minutes before the break when they hit the bar before Smith put another chance over after a good run by Couzens.
Sleaford maintained their grip on the game after half-time, but were still left frustrated as the feeling grew this would not be their day.
Peterborough almost delivered another hammer blow after 63 minutes when Greenwood was forced to clear off the line as the visitors briefly got on top.
But Jamie Shaw’s side quickly resumed control as they stepped up their efforts to find an equaliser.
Couzens’ shot forced a save as the pressure intensified, but despite almost total domination in the second half, the Greens could not find the goals their efforts deserved.
A good defensive display earned Star the points as Sleaford suffered their fifth home league defeat of the campaign.
The result leaves Town 14th at Christmas in the UCL Premier, but still within five points of ninth-placed Leicester Nirvana.
They will have a chance to climb the table with two contrasting festive fixtures.
The Boxing Day derby at second-bottom Boston Town (kick-off 3pm), is followed by the visit of third-placed Pinchbeck United to Eslaforde Park on Saturday (ko 3pm).