Director of rugby Karl de Groot thought his Buxton Stags were unlucky to lose to high-flying Ashby in Midlands 3 East (North).
Buxton returned to action following more than a month away from competitive fixtures over the festive season.
Whereas opponents Ashby had put two defeats firmly behind them with a comfortable win over Birstall last time out.
Stags battled but lost 21-15 on the day to an Ashby side second in the table behind runaway leaders Long Eaton.
de Groot said: “Given some of the challenges we have been facing recently and the scale of the result away at Ashby, if someone had said we would be in the game with five minutes left and pushing for the win, I might have had to pinch myself.
“I challenged the guys just to reduce the deficit and be competitive, if we could achieve that I would be happy, so given that we achieved both and achieved a bonus point I was delighted.
“We were unlucky not to take all the points and dominated the game, with little set piece superiority, so it’s even more astonishing.”
The task doesn’t get any easier for Buxton who travel to third-placed Belper this coming Saturday (January 20th).
But de Groot is confident.
“We have now taken both the first and second placed teams right to the wire recently so we have to confident that our luck will change shortly and with an away game against Belper this week, who we overcame fairly easily in the return fixture at home, we have to be confident of this week being the turning point.
“We have some set piece challenges again this week in terms of player availability but I’m sure we can manage these with some focussed prep work this week,” he added.