Portsmouth became victims of their own success on Saturday.
The Rugby Camp outfit were hugely-disappointing in a 35-20 defeat at Old Tiffinians.
The home side raised their game as they eyed the scalp of the London three south west title-hopefuls.
However, Jim Pearce reckons Portsmouth were the architects of their own downfall.
The director of rugby said: ‘Our performances of late have turned us into a scalp worth taking.
‘Old Tiffinians openly admitted they raised their game because it was against us.
‘They pressed us hard and didn’t allow us to play our usual game.
‘We failed to play our rugby in the right areas of the field and we are all upset by the performance.
‘It was a combination of individual and collective errors which led to our downfall.
Portsmouth trailed 23-10 at half-time with Anthony Fooks and Darren Leggott claiming their two tries.
Fooks went on to complete his hat-trick in the second half but it was all in vain.
Pearce added: ‘It is now a test of character for the team in how they respond.
‘I am looking at this as a blip.’
United Services maintained their grip at the top of Hampshire one with an impressive 33-22 win over Millbrook at Burnaby Road.
The unbeaten outfit are a point ahead of Bognor and five points in front of Millbrook.
Rich Neil rated it as Services’ best performance of the season.
‘It is a fantastic result and the first time we have put a complete 80-minute performance together,’ said the player-coach.
‘The difference between the two sides was the quality of replacements we were able to put on for the final half-hour.
‘When the likes of Rob King and Phil Gilliland went on they were able to inject new pace.
‘It was in the last half-hour Millbrook couldn’t live with us.
‘Though we trailed 17-7 at half-time, we never felt it was in doubt.
‘We finished a lot stronger than they did.’
In the first half, Sam Masters scored Services’ try with a fine individual effort.
After the restart, Services added further tries through Neil, Henry Young, King and Ollie Bowles.
Elsewhere, a depleted Southsea Nomads side endured a 57-0 Hampshire two defeat at Aldershot & Fleet.