TWENTY minutes of mid-match madness cost Horden dear as they suffered their third consecutive defeat to Tyneside opposition.
Horden looked on their way to victory when they led 13-0 at Novocastrians, only to throw it away.
The colliery side did fight back late on, but the damage had been done in the middle of the game.
Head coach Glenn Bowman said: “We started and finished strongly but in the middle 20 minutes we gave the game away.”
Horden went into the trip to Sutherland Park on the back of heavy defeats to Gosforth and Gateshead.
Horden seemed to have learned the lesson as for the opening quarter, the visitors generally dominated possession and territory.
The forwards took the game to Novos, Craig Gilmour leading the way with some good ball-carries, well supported by Andrew Turner.
Novos were forced to concede a string of penalties in their 22 and it needed some strong defence to keep out Horden.
Turner broke the deadlock with a penalty and when another chance presented itself in the home 22, the scrum-half burst over from 10 metres.
After converting, the Turner show continued when he kicked his second penalty to make it 13-0 following good runs by Dan Greener and Gilmour.
Everything appeared to be going to plan until Horden pressed the self-destruct button.
After several phases a chip and chase brought a converted try for Novos to cut the gap to 13-7.
Horden then conceded a second try just before half-time. With Darren Witte off the pitch with an injury and Novos pressing, Paul Malcolm was sin-binned for not rolling away at a ruck.
Big defence kept the hosts out but from a subsequent five-metre scrum they forced their way over to cut the gap at the break to 13-12.
It went from bad to worse in the early part of the second half. Witte could not carry on and came off injured.
Novos scored their third try when they chipped over the top and the winger beat Horden’s cover to touch down in the corner to go 17-13 up.
Shortly afterwards, Novos caught possession from a Horden 22-metre drop out and ran in another converted try to establish a commanding 31-13 lead.
Ryan Pink was brought on and had an immediate effect, getting Horden driving forward again.
With 10 minutes to go, Horden picked up the pace and battered the home pack. Novos infringed at a five-metre scrum and the visitors were subsequently awarded a penalty try. Turner converted and the deficit was now 31-20.
And then from a series of pick and drives, Owen Bennett went over in the last minute with Turner converting, the score ending Novos 31 Horden 27.
It gave Horden a bonus point but they know it should have been more.