Bedford Athletic suffered a 13-9 defeat at home to Birmingham & Solihull in National League Three Midlands on Saturday.
The visitors arrived on the back of a five match winning streak and were pushed all the way by their hosts, as they had to rely on a sterling defensive effort to keep their line intact and prevent Athletic from gaining more than a losing bonus point.
Three penalties in the first three minutes gave the visitors early momentum and the third of these was converted from in front of the posts by Jack Jolly.
Ath fought back into the game and began to dominate territory and possession, although some sloppy errors prevented any try scoring opportunities being created.
Eventually Birmingham & Solihull lifted the siege and having stolen a home lineout were able in turn to pile the pressure on in the Bedford Athletic 22 as they were awarded a penalty try, Jolly’s boot making it 10-0.
A fine break from Stephen Woodhead saw the move illegally stopped just short of the line as visiting winger Tawanda Chipadza was sin-binned for deliberately killing the ball.
Steve Smith converted the penalty for a 10-3 half time score. He was narrowly wide with another penalty early in the second half before Birmingham were reduced to 13 men when hooker Zane Raimondi was sin binned for a nasty head high challenge on Charlie Darlow.
Smith kicked the resultant three points and added another one to narrow the gap to 10-9.
With Josh McCann running hard at the defence and Andy Ince powering his way through countless tackles the home side were doing their best to make their pressure tell, but Birmingham hit back with a penalty from Jolly to make it 13-9.
Bedford went on all out attack in the final 10 minutes to try and fashion a winning score, but saw stern defence keep them at bay and eventually the clock beat them seeing the match end in a four point defeat.
Ath next visit Bridgnorth on January 7.