Bishop's Stortford beaten 20-15 at home by Cinderford in National League 1
Bishop's Stortford were disappointed with their overall performance as they went down 20-15 at home to Cinderford on Saturday.
Sam Winter and Josh Stannard scored tries for the hosts as they picked up a losing bonus point at Silver Leys.
The defeat - their third in a row - leaves Stortford 10th in National League 1. Second-from-bottom Leeds Tykes lost to Caldy meaning there are 10 points between Stortford and the relegation zone.
The fifth-placed visitors broke the deadlock after a scoreless opening quarter when Matt Lane regained possession from a charge down to put George Boulton away for a try, with Reece Boughton adding the extras.
Stortford, who were already without Tom McCrone, were dealt a blow when tighthead prop Seb Brownhill was forced off midway through the first half. Matt Meeks, who is normally a loosehead, had to come off the bench and play out of position at tighthead.
As the opening period wore on, the hosts conceded a couple of penalties which were successfully kicked by Boughton to put Cinderford 13-0 up at the break.
Stortford suffered another injury setback early in the second half when No 8 Jacob Wrafter had to go off with a cut to the head.
But they had the wind in their favour at the start of the second period and reduced the deficit with a penalty from fly-half Alfie Orchard.
Things got even better for the home team when captain Winter punished a defensive error to score a simple try which Orchard converted.
Then it was Cinderford's turn to enjoy a decent spell and hooker Sam Baker was driven over for a score from an attacking lineout. Boughton was successful with the conversion attempt.
Stortford refused to give in and winger Stannard went over for an unconverted try in the corner, but Cinderford defended well in the closing stages to complete the victory.
"It was really disappointing," said Stortford's joint head coach Marcus Cattell.
"We didn't really throw any shots and made some uncharacteristic errors. We didn't get into our groove and couldn't really find any flow in our attack. Both teams will probably look back and say the defences got on top.
"We had chances and had four good set-piece launch positions in the last 10 minutes, but couldn't find the right combinations.
"We had 58 per cent possession, but 57 per cent of the game was in our own half. Sometimes when your attack's not clicking you're looking for more territory than possession."
Stortford have got this weekend off before important fixtures away to ninth-placed Birmingham Moseley on March 26 and at home to 11th-placed Blackheath on April 2.
"We've picked up another point towards where we want to be, but we were frustrated after the game and the players were disappointed with the performance," said Cattell.
"We've got ambitions to finish in the top half, which is still in our grasp. We've now got two big games coming up."
Stortford: M Ayrton, Stannard, Winter, J Ayrton, Smith, Orchard, T Banks; Roberts, Rayment, Brownhill, Charter, Lewis, Apperley, Jones, Wrafter. Replacements: King, Meeks, R Banks, Smart, Walker.
Cinderford: Austin, Baldwin, Dunn, Boulton, Hendy, Boughton, Williams, Porter, Baker, Brockett, Jerrum, Evans, Lane, Shields, Hone. Replacements: Wilcox, Chalklin, Ryan, Gilbert, Stuart-Smith.