IT was a case of so near and yet so far again for Portsmouth as they suffered a 26-21 London two south west defeat at Effingham & Leatherhead.
The Rugby Camp outfit had to settle for a losing bonus-point despite seeing their forwards dominate in the tight.
It was another frustrating afternoon for coach Ian Chandler, who once again felt it was game his team should have won.
‘We conceded two tries in five minutes during the second half which we didn’t need to do,’ he said.
‘Our pack secured us enough ball to win the game but we also gave away needless penalties.’
The visitors trailed 14-3 at the break but hit back with a good try by centre Chris Green.
When the home side’s defence was sucked in, the ball was spun wide for Green to score on a simple overlap.
Five minutes of madness left Portsmouth 15 points adrift.
A penalty try and a Simon Morgan drop goal then got Portsmouth to within a score.
‘To their credit the players went at it hammer and tongs but couldn’t quite retrieve the situation,’ said Chandler.
‘At the end we were battering their line but couldn’t get through.
‘It is a game we should have won.’
The sixth straight league defeat leaves Portsmouth just one place and one point above bottom-club Farnham.
Back-row forward Guy Snowball celebrated his final game for United Services with a try in their 34-17 Hampshire one win at Farnborough.
Eighteen-year-old Snowball is taking a year out to go travelling.
However, league leaders Services were made to work hard to maintain their 100-per-cent record.
The visitors dominated the first half – racing into a 20-5 lead – but roles were reversed after the break.
‘We spent a lot of the second half defending close to our own goal line,’ said Services director of rugby Matt Davis.
‘It was probably our hardest-earned win so far this season.’
Services points came from Snowball, Liam Geoghagan, Tom Willoughby, Kelvin Roberts and a penalty try.