Luton RFC succumbed to a 20-17 home defeat against Brentwood in London One North at the weekend.
The result may look like a closely fought encounter; however it was anything but, as both teams combined to offer a first-half performance strewn with errors and penalties.
The opening exchanges saw the home side spurn the chance to register the first points on the scoreboard, as Rick Hobbs’ penalty attempt was wide.
As the match grew into a contest, it appeared as though the referee’s interpretation of the laws was causing some difficulties and the game was unable to flow with numerous penalties awarded and neither side able to take advantage.
Hobbs missed another kick in the 15th minute and so the pattern continued with both sides off target from the tee, as the first half finished pointless.
The visitors registered the first try of the afternoon, after only two minutes of the restart through scrum half Declan Gillette, but Bird’s conversion went wide.
Luton seemed to be spurred on and hit back nine minutes later as Will Temperley who, after a series of great rucks from the home side, smashed through the backline and scored under the posts.
Hobbs followed up with the conversion to put Luton 7-5 in front.
The hosts went further ahead on the hour mark as Jonny Wright touched down in the corner to make it 12-5.
Hobbs could not capitalise with a conversion kick from the touch line though.
It was soon all square as having won a turnover ball, Brentwood’s Eddie Greenfield was able to outpace Luton’s defence and score in the corner.
James Cowen then followed up with a difficult conversion to draw Brentwood level at 12-12.
In the last 10 minutes, Luton conceded another penalty that Henry Bird duly converted to put the visitors in front.
From the restart, Cowen gathered a speculative chip ahead and outpaced the Luton backline to touch down for a crucial try, although Bird missed his conversion.
In the final minutes, Luton threw everything at Brentwood, but determined tackling prevented them from scoring until they crossed the line late on.
However, it was too little, too late as prop Dwayne Duffy said: “It was a rather disappointing performance, but we know this team can do much better. We had an off-day, but we will bounce back.”
Luton travel to Ipswich this weekend.