ASHBOURNE suffered a surprisingly heavy defeat at home to mid-table Betley in their first game of 2014 on Saturday.
Tom Woodcock and Stephen Gallimore scored two each for Betley, while Anthony Ollier added a single.
Callum Woolley replied for Ashbourne in the second half.
There was better luck for Ashbourne Ladies, who beat rock-bottom Brampton 2-1 to move within a point of league leaders Castle Donnington.
Ashbuorne found themselves 1-0 down at half-time, but the ever-reliable Claire Poyser turned the tables and bagged two goals in the second half to capture the lead.
And the girls hung on in grim conditions to claim victory.
They now face Alfreton in the Ladies Cup quarter-final next week.