After fighting their way back into the game, Boro shut off in the very last seconds, leaving them looking shakily at the bottom few in the table.
Athletic had the chances to wrap things up themselves, but frustratingly, these opportunities came and went.
Boro were boosted prior to the game as they welcomed back striker Benny Igiehon, Jamie Price and Chris Bolder back into the side after injury and suspension, while boss Steve Kittrick also handed a debut to defender Jameel Ible.
The 4-3-3 formation worked well in the opening stages, but Kendal soon began to find gaps in and around the Boro midfield.
The visitors still managed to free themselves up for the first chance of the day, as Igiehon found his way onto Adam Bolder's lofted ball over the top, the big frontman's header looped just wide of the goal.
Paul Beesley then shook off a knock and fired into the side-netting from just inside the box.
Kendal seemed to thrive in the drizzle, though despite their pressure, they created precious little in the first half.
It was Boro who made the majority of the good opportunities, most of these revolving around the sharp-looking Carl Stewart and the other third of the strikeforce in Beesley.
Stewart played a delightful ball into the box, but it was cleared off the head of a lurking Beesley.
The big striker did get on the end of a ball into the box, but he found Will Kitchen in fine form as the keeper somehow tipped it away.
Boro keeper Jordan Porter then earned his corn, making a superb save from Matthew Dudley's volley.
Kitchen finished the half in style though, making an incredible save to scoop Stewart's header off the line.
Kendal once again began to look the part when the second period started, but the presence of Porter kept Boro in the game.
He brilliantly took the ball off the toe of Martin Grundy inside the six-yard box, then did enough to put off Oliver Wood, who headed wide.
Igiehon had his first opening soon after, though Ben Thomas slid in to take the ball away as he was poised to pull the trigger.
Boro thought they had weathered the storm, but disaster struck with 73 minutes played.
Out of nothing, the Boro defence was sliced in two by a throughball, Wood charged clear and stroked the ball into the back of the net.
Boro's response was quick and incisive. Stewart was worked into the box by some neat passing. His cross was palmed into the path of full-back Scott Brown, who headed home to make it 1-1.
The visitors could have grabbed the points seconds later when sub Eddy Birch angled a header goalwards, but it was forced away by a combination of keeper and defender.
Instead, they departed for the long trip home with nothing, as the right of Boro's defence shut down in the very final seconds.
Matthew Dudley took advantage and prodded home at the near post to win the game.