Havant’s poor start to the London one south campaign continued with a frustrating 32-18 defeat by Brighton at Hooks Lane.
Despite showing a vast improvement on their derby defeat at Gosport & Fareham last weekend, the home side could not prevent a third successive loss.
Havant led 18-13 at the break but conceded a couple of soft tries to lose the initiative in the second period.
A failure to score after half-time also contributed to their downfall.
‘It’s frustrating to lose again because for large parts of the game we were very competitive,’ said coach Will Knight.
‘In the end we ran out of gas and that allowed them to open up a gap.
‘The final scoreline certainly flattered Brighton and for an hour we were still in it.
‘I am not saying they didn’t deserve to win – but not by the margin they did.
‘It was a much-improved performance from us, particularly up front where we had the superiority in the scrummage.’
Havant were rocked back on their heels when the visitors opened their account after just six minutes.
The hosts could not prevent Brighton driving over from a line-out five metres from their line.
Havant hit back well through a Joel Knight penalty and a try of their own.
Loz Warren-West forced his way over from the back of a driving maul and Joel Knight added the conversion.
The game continued to see-saw as both teams added to their tally before half-time.
Brighton registered a penalty and a try to lead 13-10 before it was Havant’s turn to bounce back.
Scrum-half Jake Reynolds accepted a try-scoring pass from Dan Mundham and another penalty gave the home side the interval lead.
But in the second half, it was the Sussex visitors who took their chances well to close out the game.
‘We had scoring opportunities in the second half but Brighton defended well,’ said Will Knight.
‘Although we forced a series of scrums inside their twenty-two, we couldn’t capitalise on them. That proved the turning point.
‘At that stage we had our foot on their throats but they managed to survive.
‘Once they broke out from that they had us on the back foot.’
Will Knight admits, with a tough game at unbeaten league leaders Sidcup up next, Havant are under pressure.
He remains positive, however, and predicts his side will improve.
‘We know we will get stronger as the season goes on,’ said the head coach.
‘There are players who, at the moment, are either overseas or doing other things. They will be coming back in.
‘One of the real positives is we have lots of competition for places.
‘Quite a number of new players have come in and we have to get them bedded in as quickly as possible.’