Neil McRoberts put on a brave face after Gosport & Fareham crashed to a 43-25 defeat at London one south basement side Twickenham.
But the head coach admitted his side now face an uphill struggle to finish outside the bottom three and avoid the possibility of relegation.
His team were guilty of throwing away a winning position after looking like they could finally pick up their first away win of the season.
After a disastrous opening, the visitors hit back to open up a 20-7 lead before half-time – only to lose their way again.
‘It was criminal we didn’t go on and close the game out,’ said McRoberts.
‘We conceded a try inside two minutes but for the next half-hour we played some fantastic rugby.
‘It resulted in four tries and a bonus point with our opponents Twickenham looking all over the place.
‘Then we completely switched off for 10 minutes before half-time and allowed the opposition back into the game.
‘Even when we only went in a point in front at the break, we were still quite buoyant because we felt that we were still in charge.
‘We felt Twickenham were only still in the game because we had gifted them cheap points.
‘It was a case of us switching off rather than their good play.
‘Unfortunately once again we failed to replicate our first-half performance after the interval.
‘We lost our intensity and once we fell behind we found ourselves chasing the game.
‘Twickenham’s final two tries were from breakaways and resulted from us trying to force things too much.’
Gosport & Fareham could not have made a worse start – conceding a converted try inside two minutes.
Despite the setback, they regrouped and hit back in fine style with a series of well-constructed team tries. Ben Roberts, Jack Brawn, Tim Snowden and Dom Holling all crossed to put the visitors in charge.
Unfortunately, they relaxed and allowed Twickenham to score twice before half-time.
In the second half, Andy Vance added to the Gosport try tally but by then the home side had pulled well clear.
‘There is no hiding from the fact this was a game we need to win,’ said McRoberts.
‘Twickenham had only won once before this season and this result is a kick in the teeth for us.
‘It is important, though, we stick together and focus on our remaining three games.
‘They are all against teams in the top half of the league, including our big derby at Havant.
‘I still believe we possess enough quality to pick up the points we need to get out of the bottom three.
‘But it is going to be tough and we will need to sharpen up a lot.’