The University of Chichester were looking to cause an upset and gain a victory that would put them joint top with visitors Hartpury - but it was just beyond them as they went down 3-2.
Chichester soaked up early pressure and used wingers Tom Smith and Ben Chick to attack Harpury.
Captain for the day Dan Smith and Callum Eagle kept it tight at the back.
Harpury were dangerous and went ahead as a corner was bundled over the line after poor defending.
Smith and Chick had efforts on goal but on the counter-attack Hartpury grabbed a killer second on 40 minutes when their No10 drifted past two defenders and buried his effort.
In the second half Chichester had to step it up and show some fight - and they did.
Chick and Kenneth Hagan grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
Left-back Danny Watts, playing his last game for the uni, played a delightful ball over the top which Chick took past the full-back, who brought down Chick in the area.
Hagan slotted home a cool penalty to make it 2-1.
Chichester goalkeeper Jack Evans thwarted a Hartpury forward in a one-on-one and the hosts’ pressure paid off when in-form Sam Goodge tapped home to make it 2-2.
Pau Busquets was brilliant in the holding midfield role but Hartpury were a massive threat on the counter attack and with about ten minutes left, a Hartpury forward darted in between two Chichester defenders and sweetly struck a half-volley into the bottom corner to the frustration of Chichester players, staff and supporters, who turned out in numbers.
Chichester attempted to snatch an equaliser but couldn’t find one, although a monumental second-half effort means full credit goes to the team.