HORDEN conceded three late tries to suffer a double at the hands of third-placed Alnwick in Durham Northumberland One.
The Colliery side were behind throughout but at 20-11 down going into the last quarter, they were still in contention.
However, Alnwick finished the stronger to win by some distance.
And, to add injury to insult, Horden lost both scrum-half Neil Hartley and Darren Witte with injuries in the final 20 minutes.
With Horden having used all their subs, it meant the side ended the game with 13 men.
Head coach Glenn Bowman said: “Overall, I couldn’t really complain at the scoreline.
“Alnwick were the better side and deserved the win.
“But we weren’t helped by the refereeing of the scrum, where we had an early edge.
“Their tight-head bored in all match and was never penalised.
“Our commitment and workrate was there and our scrambling defence was good at times.
“But our kicking game was lacking and we gave them too many opportunities to counter-attack and they exploited the space we gave them well.”
Alnwick started strongly put Horden under pressure. David Heckles saw his clearance charged down and, from the resulting scramble, Alnwick moved the ball wide to score an unconverted try.
The Northumberland side extended their lead to 8-0 with a penalty after 10 minutes and it looked as though it was going to be a very hard day at the Horden office.
However, the visitors gradually got a foothold in the game and started to gain some territory.
Andrew Turner saw a penalty drift just wide, but he made no mistake with his next two kicks to cut the gap to 8-6.
But just before half-time, the hosts scored again.
A clearance kick didn’t reach touch, allowing Alnwick to counter well and after a couple of phases, they created a gap for their winger to go through for a converted try to make it 15-6 at half-time.
Alnwick came out of the traps quickly in the second half and got a score to make it 20-6.
Horden responded quickly. Good defensive pressure forced Alnwick to mishandle, allowing Horden to kick deep.
And when Alnwick threw a loose pass, John Hudson managed to kick the ball on to beneth the home posts. From here, Hartley fed David Mason following a scrum to go over in the corner to cut the gap to just nine points.
Alnwick added a penalty but Horden were still not out of it at 23-11 behind.
However, the last 20 minutes were definitely Alnwick’s and three tries, one converted, took the match away from a game Horden.