Two yellow cards cost the 1st XV dear as they conceded two tries and a penalty when twice down to 14 men and were then blown away completely by Maidstone with three more tries in the closing stages to lose 0-33 at Gosport Park yesterday writes Brian Seeney.

Maidstone kicked their two penalties in th 21st and 25th minutes whilst the two earlier Gos kicks were missed and each side suffered a yellow card apiece in the 12th and 25th minutes, the latter for wing Ian White was a team card.

Unfortunately, when 11 minutes into the second half, skipper Wes Dugan tackled high and was correctly yellowed, it all fell apart for Gos.

Whilst Dugan was kicking his heels. the Stones scored two tries and then in the last 20 minutes scored three more (74, 80 and 84 minutes), converting once.

"For me that was the most disappointing game we've played because at half-time we were in with shout. They weren't very good but we were worse because of our decision-making," admitted Head Coach Barry Bridgman.

"I thought we had 20 points in us at the end of the first half, enough to win that, and had a really good chance with a little bit of wind at our backs.

"We were winning ball quite well and had some pretty good passages of play so I thought we were definitely in with a shout.

"Unfortunately it fell apart with the yellow cards and 20 minutes playing with 14 people. Then fitness and tiredness let us down and we conceded four tries.

 

MiadstoneHome WesWEB

Wes Dugan stopped yesterday. Photo: Chris Roberts. More pictures in the Photo Gallery.

"The boys were falling off tackles in the last 20 minutes. I thought our decision-making was poor right through the game but particularly in the second half.

"We let ourselves down again but again you can't fault any of our players for effort, guts, and determination right to the last second of the game. However I'm thinking 'why can't we bolt this altogether with the intelligence factor?'

"We talk a lot about what we are going to do and what we are not going to do and then we don't do what we say we are going to do when we get out on the grass.

"Maidstone tackled well but we spent a lot of time trying to run the ball up front when we should be spending more time getting it wide and supporting our backs."

With just that losing bonus point in their account, Gos need to overhaul Brighton (nine points), Dover (10) and Chiswick (14) to avoid relegation from London 1 South - all three losing yesterday.

"At the half-way stage of the season it's unlikely we will stay up now. I suppose mathematically it's possible but unlikely.

"To stay up we would have to beat Dover and Brighton and Chiswick and pick up points from somewhere else as well and hope they lose all their games.

"To be reasonable that's not going to happen so we are almost certainly relegated (now)."

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