GOSPORT & FAREHAM saw their title hopes rocked by a 26-20 loss to main rivals Wimbledon at Gosport Park.
The battle for the London two south west crown is now firmly back on.
With three games left to play, Gosport’s lead has been cut to six points at the top.
Head coach Mark Wells accepted his team were beaten by the better side on the day, though he felt they were dealt a few harsh decisions by the officials.
‘Fair play to Wimbledon they are an experienced, well-drilled outfit,’ said Wells.
‘They led at the start of the second half and had missed six kicks which would have put them 20 points further ahead.
‘That would have been a real stuffing.
‘Though we got back in it in the later stages, it would have been daylight robbery if we’d won.
‘Having said that I felt that the yellow card and penalty try decisions against us in the first half were mysterious to say the least.’
The visitors showed their intent from the start with a sixth-minute converted try.
Gosport levelled five minutes before the interval with winger Gareth Jones chasing Sam Foster’s kick ahead to claim a try.
On the stroke of half-time though, the home side were angered as a couple of crucial decisions went against them.
Skipper Tim Snowden was yellow carded for his first offside offence and then the visitors were awarded a penalty try.
Two further Wimbledon tries in the opening four minutes of the second half virtually sealed the result.
But Wells’ side refused to throw in the towel.
And after making changes they began to enjoy more success.
They hit back through an Alex Duncombe penalty and a converted try by number eight Matt Flower.
‘The bonus point was important,’ said Wells.
‘We are six points in front of Wimbledon with three games left.
‘We are the best two teams in our league but we know that we cannot afford any slip-ups.
‘What we want to avoid is going to Guildford on the last day of the season needing five points.
‘We destroyed their promotion dream on the final day of last season and I am sure they would be determined to repay us if it comes to that.’