MALVERN Town lost 3-2 at home to Bewdley Town in the Worcester Royal Infirmary Cup in their first match in almost a month.
The Langland Stadium side were back in action for the first time since beating West Midlands League Premier Division leaders Lye Town 2-0 on December 28.
But they were unable to make a winning return despite two goals from Dave Reynolds in the round-robin stage of the competition.
Reynolds clawed Malvern back into the contest from 2-0 down but their Worcestershire rivals went on to seal victory in the second-half, despite the best efforts of the hosts to score more goals.
Malvern were without several key players, including Chris Allen, Joe Endacott and Lee Barmby through work commitments, while fellow defenders Aaron Richards and Mark Saysell served one-match bans.
Manager Les Jones said: “It was our first game back and we were the better side but we gave a sloppy goal away just after half-time and we couldn’t get it back.
“The momentum was with us and we should have gone on to win but we just gave them a goal and then spent the rest of the half chasing the game.
“All the goals came from our mistakes but I am angry about the third goal.”
Malvern still have to play Lebury Town next Wednesday and Bromsgrove Sporting in the competition, and victory against both could see them through to the knock-out stages.
Town have no league match scheduled this weekend, meaning their next Premier Division match is not until the visit of lowly Bustleholme on Saturday, February 1.
It also means that, following last Saturday’s postponement against Ellesmere Rangers due to a waterlogged pitch, they won’t have played a league game in the whole of January.
Jones said: “We have arranged the Ledbury cup match for next Wednesday because we need to get some games in. There’s no substitute for playing games, it’s not the same as training.”
The Malvern boss is hoping to have a fully fit and available squad to pick from by the time the Bustleholme match comes around.