Whyteleafe have it all to do in the second leg of the Kent League Cup quarter-final after slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Erith & Belevedere.
The decisive moment came in the second half when Leafe conceded a sloppy penalty just before the break, and Erith & Belvedere’s Alex Waugh coolly converted.
But Leafe will take heart from a battling display that saw them dominate much of the play throughout.
Leafe came out the blocks fastest and peppered the Deres goal early on, Bentley Graham’s effort forcing keeper Jack Bradshaw into a strong save.
Former Whyteleafe midfielder Kieran McCann gave his old employers plenty to think about in the middle of the park but failed to trouble keeper Dave Wilkinson.
The visitors came close again on 23 minutes when Paul Scott saw his shot cleared off the line.
But moments before the interval, a knock-on from an Erith & Belvedere throw connected with the arm of Whyteleafe’s Sam Robbins, and Waugh sent Wilkinson the wrong way from the resulting spot kick to give the hosts a slender advantage.
A scrappy second half saw few chances but Leafe piled on the pressure and came close when substitute Ray Freeman rattled the crossbar.
Intelligent play from Michael Abnett set up Graham late on but his effort passed inches wide of Bradshaw’s right post.
The second leg will be played at Whyteleafe’s Church Road ground on January 22.