The 1st XV slipped one place to eighth in the table after a last minute 20-24 defeat against fellow strugglers Andover at Gosport Park yesterday and Head Coach Barry Bridgman says his team are now "looking down the barrel of relegation again" writes Brian Seeney.

Gos still picked up a losing bonusfrom the defeat to stretch their lead from seven to eight points over Winchester and nine points over Eastleigh in London 2 South West. They stay ahead of Andover by a better points' difference of minus 166.

But yesterday's match was a golden opportunity to pull clear of the relegation scrap. Instead a tactically naive display has heaped unwelcome pressure on Gos with five games left of this campaign.

"That was very, very disappointing. We are looking down the barrel (of relegation) again and we shouldn't be there," said a dejected Bridgman who couldn't hide his frustration at the performance.

"We played the game wrongly in the first half and at half time I told them (Gos players) that we needed to tackle those big Andover boys around the ankles and knock them to the floor, then they will run out of players supporting. We needed to feed our backs more because when we ran at Andover we looked much, much better.

"We did that and scored two tries in the first eight minutes of the second half and then we stopped doing it again. We stopped doing what was working really well.

"We made crucial errors and missed tackles at crucial times."

Gos effectively gave the win to Andover when they opted for a scrum not a lineout on what was to be their last chance to get a very valuable fourth try.

"It was a poor on-field decision. We should have gone for the lineout where at least we had a chance. We didn't have any chance in the scrum because we had been going backwards (in the scrum) all afternoon. A scrum was no good at all.

Andov WesTry2 WEB

Wes Dugan's second try yesterday. Photo: Chris Roberts. See more pictures in the Photo Gallery.

"Rubbish decisions took the game away and not knowing how to play the game in the first half.

"It was obvious we shouldn't be battering away at their pack and I said that before the game. We needed to run their big boys around and we didn't do enough of that in the first half.

"In the second half we scored two tries through running the ball, then we shut up shop again and went back to trying to batter away at people. It was rubbish."

Gos started well and were 5-0 ahead after 10 minutes thanks to the first of skipper Wes Dugan's two tries, his second 90 seconds into the second half.

But Andover quickly hit back with a converted try on 16 minutes and after a yellow card for Toby Woodford in the 40th minute, an Andover penalty gave them a 5-10 half-time lead.

When at long last the ball was with the Gos backs, they scored again eight minutes into the second half when fly half Sam Foster prised open a gap and centre Wayne Dugan scored their third try.

There was 22 minutes left for Gos to grab a four try bonus point but instead, Andover's heavy pack pushed over on 61 minutes and the conversion took it to 17-17.

Full back Tom Lewis added to his earlier conversion of Wes Dugan's second try with a penalty on 73 minutes, to give Gos a 20-17 lead.

Then came the scrum not lineout call and almost inevitably, Andover got to the Gos end and after being patient with several bids for the try line, they succeeded and landed a simple conversion.

The final whistle came immediately and Gos were left to ponder on a game that they could and should have won and a defeat for which the players on the field can blame no one except themselves.

An easyWeb site produced by Media 3