Portsmouth crashed to a 44-33 London South One defeat against Cobham at Rugby Camp.
The city club are safe in mid-table after a good first half of the season but have now gone six games without a win, which coach Ian Chandler puts down to fatigue.
‘It is a very young team and in marathon terms they have hit the wall,’ said Chandler.
‘The players are tired because they have put so much effort in all season.
‘The kids have given their all and they have run out of steam.
‘It is a long, hard season and they have just run out of energy.
‘All season we have come up against teams with huge packs of forwards and that has taken its toll.
‘The end is in sight, though, and we have a cup semi-final next week followed by three more league games.
‘Ideally, we would rest the youngsters and bring in some of the old lags but they are not around.
‘We will have to dig deep because we want to end the season in a positive fashion.’
If it was hard work for the coach, the supporters on the touchlines were treated to a fine contest which saw 11 tries, and could have gone either way in the closing stages.
Cobham’s big mobile pack took charge early on and established a clear 22-10 lead by half-time, with Portsmouth’s points coming from a Ben Whitley interception try converted by James Botten.
The try-scoring spree continued after the break with Portsmouth grabbing four through Whitley again, Jack Hazeldine, Dan Sargeant and Tom Whithouse.
And with the game entering the closing stages, the home side only trailed 36-33.
The visitors, though, added a final try at the death.
‘It was frustrating to concede so many points but we can pick ourselves up to finish the season in the right manner,’ said Chandler.
‘After last season’s relegation, whatever happens we have consolidated and it has been a successful campaign.’