Old Brodleians paid the price for alarming tackling lapses as they were overhauled and beaten 20-19 by visitors Bradford Salem yesterday.
Another five-point league haul looked almost a formality when the Hipperholme men scored three tries in the opening 34 minutes of the Yorkshire One contest to take a 19-3 lead.
But they drew a blank from then on, their midfield defence crumbled and they had to settle for a losing bonus point against a team which started the day four places below them.
Salem had won only two of their previous six games following promotion and Brods didn’t have to string many passes together to put points on the board.
It took only three minutes for Dom Georgiou to speed in at the right corner, Phil Town’s bid to add the extras being scuppered by a breeze blowing up the slope.
Georgiou then had to get back to cover for Matty Hoyle, who slipped attempting to collect a Salem kick, and Brods had another scare when visiting stand-off Andy Robinson went through but was brought back for a forward pass.
Hoyle’s long pass sent Town away down the flank and although Brods were penalised at the breakdown, they were gifted their second try on 22 minutes.
An untidy tap-down of the ball at a lineout by Salem was seized upon by alert scrum-half Joe Armitage, who scampered to the line unchallenged from 40 metres. Town converted for 12-0.
The error count was mounting but Salem managed to hang on to the ball long enough to earn two penalty shots in quick succession, full-back Danny Belcher hitting the target with the second of them after 32 minutes.
Brods withdrew try-scoring machine Manu, playing in the back row, to protect a shoulder injury.
However, they continued to unlock the Salem defence with ease, the forwards punching holes down the middle before Town sent centre Nathan Scott in for another seven-pointer.
Brods’ performance started to unravel with the sin-binning of Georgiou four minutes before the break and Salem pulled back seven points before he returned.
Prop Callum Thompson, the home side’s most powerful runner, was unable to prevent Belcher racing past him from close to half-way on 45 minutes, the try-scorer adding the goal.
Town and Belcher missed penalties and Brods might have had another try had James Marshall spotted Hoyle after breaking through.
Brods were eventually undone by two unconverted tries in four minutes entering the last 10 minutes.
Centre Ryan Smith crossed wide on the right and Salem’s sudden belief that they could win was confirmed when Robinson took advantage of more paper-thin defence to cross the line.
Brods launched a desperate bid to save the game but Hoyle off-loaded the ball into touch and then Bob Sykes dropped the ball in front of the posts.