RELEGATED Altrincham were unable to overcome play-off chasers Brackley Town, going down 3-1 at the J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday.
Six Robins players had already been ruled out through injury before they suffered a further pre-match blow when a family bereavement left Chris Lynch unavailable.
But long-term injured defender Shaun Densmore returned on the bench and teenage forward Darius Palma came in for a promising full league debut.
Despite their problems, Alty started the brighter of the sides and visiting keeper Laurie Walker had to excel to push a fine Nicky Clee shot round the post.
Damian Reeves also went close before the visitors took the lead just after the half-hour mark.
The goal came when Alty left-back Andy McWilliams was caught upfield and Glenn Walker got free on the right to present a tap-in for team-mate Steve Diggin.
Reeves then forced another brilliant save from the visitors' keeper but Alty remained a goal behind at the break.
Brackley doubled their advantage 12 minutes from time when Micah Evans' misplaced header towards his own goal set Jordan Hempenstall free and the substitute coolly lobbed the exposed Stuart Tomlinson.
And when Lee Ndlovu netted a third from 20 yards as the game went into added time it was all over for Altrincham, though Evans scored a consolation with virtually the last kick of the game following a good run and cross by McWilliams.
Next up for Altrincham is a Good Friday clash at Curzon Ashton (3pm) before they return to the J.Davidson Stadium on Easter Monday when second-placed Kidderminster Harriers are the visitors.
ALTRINCHAM: Tomlinson, Patterson, McWilliams, Taylor, Heathcote, Moult, Richman, Lawrie, Palma, Reeves, Clee. Subs: Owens, Densmore, McDonald, Evans, Deasy.