Whyteleafe suffered a major setback to their Southern Counties East League promotion challenge after a 1-0 defeat at Corinthian.

The defeat saw Leafe slip to second in the tab, but just as damaging could be the loss of two key players through suspensions due to dismissals.

Leafe looked the stronger of the sides in the early exchanges with skipper Jason Thompson, Dylan Merchant and Roscoe DSane all going close.

However, Corinthian took the lead in the 26th minute when Leafe failed to clear a cross properly and Denzil Gayle fired the ball home.

Leafe had a great chance to equalise straight away when Sam Clayton beat two defenders on the left - his cross found DSane at the far post but he shot wide.

The crucial moment in the game came in the 35th minute when DSane broke clear.

Goalkeeper Stroud came rushing out and brought him down on the edge of the box, denying him what appeared to be a clear goal scoring opportunity - but somehow he escaped with a yellow card.

This so incensed Leafe that they lost their discipline and a few players were shown yellow cards for dissent that were to prove crucial late in the game.

Eventually Thompson took the free kick from the edge of the box but it was blocked by the defensive wall.

Another chance came Leafe’s way on the stroke of half time when Tommy Smith found Clayton on the edge of the box, but his shot on the turn was well saved by Stroud.

Leafe made some changes at half time but few chances came their way in the second half as Corinthian packed their defence, although Clayton forced a good save in the 49th minute and went close in the 56th minute when Greg Andrews sent him clear.

Leafe went close in the 83rd minute when Jensen Grant’s header from an inswinging Thompson corner went inches over the bar.

Leafe’s night went from bad to worse in the 89th minute when Thompson’s free kick was handled by Grant.

He was shown a second yellow and dismissed, DSane immediately suffered the same fate for dissent and followed him into the dressing room.

Leafe still have their destiny in their own hands but cannot afford any more slip ups in the final five games, needing four wins and a draw to clinch promotion.

Whyteleafe: Ceesay, Tommy Smith, Penfold, Broomhead, Merchant, Thompson, Fowler (Andrews 45), Grant, DSane, Clayton , Taylor Smith (Pitterson 45 (Graham 65)).

Subs not used: Williams, Abrahams.