Gosport & Fareham head coach Neil McRoberts insists his side’s 47-22 London one south home defeat by Sidcup was not as bad as the scoreline suggests.
The Gosport Park outfit claimed a try-scoring bonus point and matched the third-placed visitors for the whole of the first half.
However, McRoberts was left disappointed by a weaker performance in the second half – which was clinically punished by the Kent visitors.
‘The bonus point is huge for us,’ said the head coach.
‘It keeps us out of the relegation zone – all be it on points difference – but it was no more than we deserved.
‘When we went at Sidcup and put them under pressure we made them look very ordinary.
‘Unfortunately our game management wasn’t great in the second half and Sidcup showed us why they are so high in the league.
‘They were far better conditioned physically for the relentless onslaught and that showed in the later stages.’
Gosport & Fareham started slowly and gifted the visitors two cheap tries because of poor decision-making.
The hosts had looked comfortable – keeping the ball in hand and working through the phases – but paid the price for kicking the ball away.
With his team conceding 12 points in as many minutes, McRoberts feared the worst. But the home side suddenly switched on.
‘The reaction from the players was fantastic,’ said McRoberts.
‘For the second quarter of the match we controlled and dictated the game.
‘We played some fantastic rugby and scored three well-worked tries, involving forwards and backs.’
Scores from Alex Cooksley, Rory Penfold and Tom Lewis, along with a Wes Dugan conversion, gave the home side a 17-12 lead.
Unfortunately, Sidcup scored a try two minutes before the break to regain a 19-17 lead.
‘We were really pleased at half-time because we had taken the game to them up the middle of the park,’ added McRoberts.
‘It was just a shame we failed to recreate that after the break.
‘Sidcup capitalised on the greater space they were given and picked us off.’
Three tries early in the second half saw Sidcup stretch their lead to 40-17.
Gosport grabbed a bonus point with a fourth try on 72 minutes, when Wes Dugan touched down.
‘It is important to put this result into perspective,’ said McRoberts.
‘For much of the first half we were the better team against a side sitting third in our league.
‘Their try just before half time was a bit of a killer blow and if we had gone in ahead at the break it might have been different.
‘Now we have to move forward and look to try to play our rugby for the whole 80 minutes.’