Pertemps Bees 20 London Welsh 24

Defeat to one of the few part-time sides left in National League One will do little to lift the gloom lingering around Sharmans Cross Road as the Bees continue to search for the win they so desperately need to kick-start their season.

For well over an hour it looked as if that victory would come against the Exiles as Bees dominated the game, earning a 20-3 lead and never looking like being troubled. But a disastrous final 15 minutes, in which they conceded 21 points, was enough to condemn them to their fifth straight defeat.

However, while some fans were happy to blame the referee for the series of penalties he awarded Welsh in the closing stages - including sending Pete Bucknall to the sin-bin with five minutes left - and the amount of time he added on, coach Ben Harvey refused to point the finger.

"It was a harsh lesson to learn," he said. "For 70 minutes, we totally dominated the game but we didn't put our chances away. We should have been 30 points up in the first half and didn't do that and with a side like London Welsh, it was always inevitable they were going to come back.

"It was a must-win for us. We have got into a habit of losing and in order to break that habit you have got to have little gains all over the place - a tackle here, a ruck there - and just keep trying to win everything you can and eventually turn it around.

"We showed again we can play and we have played very good rugby and finishing and seeing sides off is a very, very difficult thing to get right overnight."

With seven minutes gone, Bees unlocked the Welsh defence with a kick behind from Alex Grove which fell kindly for James Aston and, although he was stopped before the line, he managed to offload to the waiting Grove who dived over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Sam Ulph cut the gap with a penalty on 15 minutes from one of the few Welsh forays into the home side's territory. The remainder of the half was all Bees and they should have killed the game off before the break but, while their quick, agile backs continued to pick holes in the Welsh defence, the final ball which would have converted possession into points eluded them.

In the end, they had to settle for a Jon Higgins penalty which sent them in at the interval 8-3 ahead. For much of the second half, the pattern of the game remained the same and the boot of Higgins looked to have put Bees out of sight as he put four unanswered penalties between the posts.

But, after 65 minutes, an attempted clearance from Nicky Griffiths was charged down, Welsh's James Strong collected and set-up a series of movements which led to Greg Evans running in at the corner for a try which Thomas Marks converted.

Then came the turning point as Bucknall was shown the yellow card with 75 minutes gone and Welsh capitalised, rediscovering their driving maul to put pressure on the Bees who eventually conceded a penalty try.

Marks converted and then, with momentum in their favour, Welsh dealt the Bees a blow eight minutes into extra time as Colm Hannon muscled his way over the line. Marks added the conversion with the final kick of the game.

Harvey admitted the atmosphere afterwards was 'terrible' but added: "Sedgley Park lost their first 12 games last year and they ended up staying up comfortably, so you just keep fighting."

PERTEMPS BEES: Spee, Aston, Murchie (Maggs, 58), Grove, Mitchell (Uche, 50), Higgins, Knight (Griffiths 58), Long (Wyn Davis 65), Pearle (Osborne 65), Bucknall, McComb (Daish 52), Davidson, Matthews (Campton 52), Collins, Earnshaw. LONDON WELSH: Ulph (Evans 40), Strong, Mackey, Jewell, Sampson, Burton (Marks 60), Nicholls (Chilten h-t), Williams (Hannon 60), Kwasnicki, Adams, Corker, Thomas (Burke 38), Cox (Everett 72), S Etheredge, J Mills. Replacement: McNamee :