Fleetwood were confident of recording their first win of 2017 against a side they had beaten convincingly at home in the North Lancs/Cumbria League.
However, the hosts were much-improved and executed their chances with clinical finishing, whereas Fleetwood struggled to break through a resolute defence despite long periods of possession.
Littleborough took the lead from a lineout after five minutes, when a kick by their fly-half was collected by their left winger, who passed inside for an unconverted try.
Scott Richardson missed his first penalty attempt for the Green and Golds but landed his second following a high tackle on James Torkington to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Veteran Matthew Larkin made a good contribution in an unfamiliar scrum-half role but half-back partner Richardson was yellow-carded for a high tackle.
Littleborough scored from a five-metre scrum and the conversion made it 12-3 inside the first 20 minutes. Chris Jones’ excellent tackle denied Littleborough but Fleet lost Scott Dobbie and Karl Bowling to injury.
Fleet kicked a penalty into the corner and Jones crashed over to make it 12-8 on 36 minutes but there was still time before the break for the hosts to add a third try to lead 17-8.
The visitors pounded the line but were denied by excellent defence and suffered further injuries to Jones and Owen Brown.
Richardson was sin-binned for the second time, for a technical offence, and a penalty try completed the scoring.
Fleetwood must regroup for Saturday’s visit to Aldwinians but the spirit remains upbeat.