Needham Market Women were narrowly edged out 1-0 by league leaders Luton Town on a challenging pitch away from home.
Passing football was hard to come by with chances at a premium making the first goal crucial and for Needham it unfortunately came against them late on from Leyah Maddix.
The home side had the better of the first chances but were left frustrated with some poor finishing.
Luton got in early when Adi Milton broke what looked a tight offside trap but dragged her shoot wide of the far post.
A couple of close shaves then occurred as poor finishing continued to stop Luton taking the lead in a game of fine margins.
Needham created very little in terms of real chances with some long-range shots being the best as they struggled to adapt their usually neat passing game on a poor surface.
But the second half was different with the away side growing in confidence and looking sharper in possession without many clear-cut chances as the final ball eluded them.
Then came a pivotal five minutes that could have seen a different result.
With 70 gone Eva Hubbard found space to on the left and cut back to Molly Hall and her goal bound effort was brilliantly stopped by the keeper before a minute later Hubbard took aim from distance with her bending shot just missing the far post.
Then Paige Wakefield saw a powerful free kick pushed over the bar.
Leonie Jackson – making her league debut – was solid in goal making some smart stops and taking the pressure off her defence with some confident catches, but her first clean sheet was taken away from her late on.
Luton were still a threat, but Needham had the better chances in a reverse of the first half but Maddix – who was a constant threat – finally broke the deadlock as she beat two players and her shoot looked to wrong foot Jackson in goal.
Hall almost equalised with a dipping header from a brilliant Hubbard cross but a deserved point at the very least remained just out of reach.
The development squad started their season with an entertaining 3-3 draw with Woodbridge at Bloomfields.
Ashleigh Goddard and Leilah Hanson had put the home side 2 in front early on but Woodbridge made a brilliant comeback to lead 3-2 with Captain Amy Trenter leading from the front with a wonderful equaliser to share the spoils.