Worthing Raiders head coach Jody Levett revealed his team were downbeat in spite of a thrilling National 2 South triumph at Roundstone Lane on Saturday.
Raiders came out 51-37 bonus point winners over newly promoted Birmingham & Solihull, with 13 tries scored in what proved to be an entertaining clash.
Worthing needed a late rally, scoring three tries over the course of the final few minutes to come away victorious.
It should have been so much more convincing for Raiders, though, who led 34-16 with over an hour played.
A combination of sloppy work from the home side and visiting Bees hitting their stride saw them turn things around to go 37-34 in front - having scored 21 unanswered points in under ten minutes.
Raiders managed to regroup, eventually running away with victory but Levett felt it should have been much more convincing.
He said: “It felt like a loss afterwards, the boys were really downbeat which shows that lapse meant something. We’ve just got to set our standards higher than that, it was great to score 51, but we can’t concede 37 points.
“Our defence and the errors made were simply not good enough and for whatever reason the concentration was just not there. It was virtually job done with just under 20 minutes left, they then scored 21 points in quick time and that is just simply not acceptable.
“We scored 51 points at home and we got the five points for the win, fantastic. That would have been the easy thing to say to the team after the match but I think we need to reflect on conceding 37 points and the manner in which we did that. Against a team, with no disrespect to Birmingham, that are stronger than them we would have got torn apart.”
The win continued Raiders’ perfect start at home this season, following on from the victory in their season opener at Roundstone Lane against Redruth.
But if Worthing are to improve upon their seventh-placed finish in National 2 South last season, Levett knows they must improve defensively.
“I think we felt we’d won the game (at 34-16), we switched off and our management wasn’t quite right,” Levett added.
“All of sudden we went from 34-16 ahead, managing the game, then you think ‘hang on a second’ and their tales then came up.
“We’ve worked hard on our defence and there are moments when you can see that, but then there are bad moments. Defence is about mindset to go and get the ball back and we didn’t have the right mindset against Birmingham.”
Raiders head to Canterbury on Saturday for what will be their fourth away game from their opening six games this season.
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