Horsham backs coach Richard Bell revealed he was the most gutted he has ever felt with a defeat as they lost to a last-gasp converted try by relegation threatened Old Alleynians.
There was little at stake for the Green and Whites, although the home side required a minimum of a bonus point to ensure survival in London 2 South East.
They grabbed that in the last ten minutes turning round a 25-14 scoreline, before putting down a late converted try for a 26-25 victory.
The Green and Whites, who had seven enforced changes, had exchanged two penalties a piece with Old Alleynians by the break, both kicked by Will Bell, in a non-eventful first half. Gareth Wynne slotted the goals for Old Alleynians.
Old Alleynians took the lead early in the second half when following a powerful rolling maul, Horsham were penalised for offside in the backs and Wynne kicked the penalty.
Johnny Ordidge broke through the home defence and although Old Alleynians regained possession, Joe Wilde read the pass of the opposition fly half to intercept and run in.
Old Alleynians then bounced back with a try from Rhys Hopkins to lead 14-11.
Arun Thompson crashed through under the posts for his 14th league and cup try of the season, which was converted by Bell as Horsham retook an 18-14 lead.
Scrum-half Josh Mills regathered the ball which sat up nicely to race over to score. Bell slotted the conversion and Horsham appeared to have an unassailable 25-14 lead with ten minutes left.
Old Alleynians had other ideas as Will Unwin scored in the corner after a series of rolling mauls to narrow the gap to 25-19, but they had achieved their losing bonus point to stay up.
But rather than play out time, they fielded Horsham’s long kick-off and ran the ball out from inside their 22 to go the length of the field try and score one of the tries of the season. Wynne then kicked the conversion from close to the touchline under incredible pressure to secure an unlikely 26-25 win.
Richard Bell said: “It was a decent performance when you look at the number of changes we had to make but hats off to the guys who stepped up to play at this level.
“It is however the most gutted I have ever felt after a game. They put in so much effort and the new players gave everything.
“Although it was a bit disjointed you could see that the guys who came in have been training, we had good shape and they understood our systems in attack and defence.
“I thought we cancelled each other out in the first half but we took our tries well after the break and to be fair, they executed their final try very well.
“Now we need to prepare to face Tunbridge Wells next week.”
Horsham: Bell, Watts, Ordidge, Wilde, Downey (Sheppard), McCabe, Mills, Talbot, Stone, Fairs (Penfold), Clarkson, Cass, Smith, Thompson, Fisher (Porter).
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