It is a quirk of rugby union's current rewards structure that Pertemps Bees harvested as many points from this match as they would have had they drawn it. For the sake of absolute clarity they lost, painfully.
Which is quite an achievement because they actually manufactured not one but two winning positions, so to succumb to Douglas Flock-hart's last-minute try is gut-wrenching in the extreme.
Let's be clear about something else while we're at it, this reverse will hurt a thousand times more than the ten-try beating they took at Franklin's Gardens last weekend.
This was a match they could have, should have and would have won but for a single calamitous final play.
Ben Harvey's men led 18-7 at half time and looked as though they could score at will but then, after a sluggish third quarter, they needed Uche Oduoza's smart finish to put them ahead 23-22 with four minutes remaining on the clock.
Three minutes into injury time they allowed Dave Hewitt to tip toe through their defensive line and Flockhart, whose name is more reminiscent of a 1950s wing commander than a modern-day professional rugby player, put the hosts to flight.
Five points became two and instead of being off the bottom, they remain ankle deep in the mire.
With more than a third of the season gone Bees are in last position. It is always foolish to draw too many conclusions in November but after this match and the manner of their defeat, it now seems logical to suggest the rest of the campaign will be spent fighting for their First Division lives rather than lording it in mid-table.
Yes, they have played all of the top five sides, but they have also taken on four of the six teams above them and won only once. Indeed two of those losses have been inexcusable - September's defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory job against London Welsh and Saturday's eerily familiar repeat.
It was the failure to heed lessons like the one administered by the Exiles that so exorcised Harvey: "There were absolutely no positives to come out of that debacle. Yes we looked quite dangerous when we moved it wide but even that wasn't as good as in recent weeks," the head coach lamented.
"I sit in the stand and watch the same old things go wrong. We told them all about their driving maul and there they are driving us back 30 metres when we should have sacked it. We discussed what their ten would do and how we would have to mark him up."
Bees conspicuously failed to do that in the third minute of added time when Dave Hewitt, the ten in question, split their defensive line and raced clear to deliver the decisive pass to Flockhart.
It was enough to make Harvey question the quality of the work his men were actually putting in during their two training sessions a week.
"It reflects where we are at the moment. Individuals are paying lip service and nodding their heads to what we are asking them to do but without ever fully understanding why."
But perhaps most irritating was what he perceived to be a lack of effort. "The players think the difference between Northampton and Esher is three leagues but it isn't.
"They have got to front up in every game not go at it 50 per cent like we did. It is not only naive it is quite disrespectful."
Perhaps Bees were duped into complacency by the relative ease with which they carved the visitors open in the first period.
Harvey felt his team should have scored seven first-half tries instead of the three they actually claimed.
The first came courtesy of a classic centre break from Pete Murchie, supported by partner Mike Mangeolles and converted into a fully-fledged opportunity by the superb Reece Spee. The full back picked his way to the line before sending James Aston over.
Although Bees conceded the aforementioned catch and drive effort to James Campbell soon afterwards, a Jon Higgins penalty and a short-range charge from Matt Long made it 13-7 with time running out.
When they ended the period with Spee finishing off a decent counter-attack they were 11 points clear and everyone felt the job was done.
But instead of applying pressure they eased off and after the break Hewitt booted a penalty then converted a brilliant individual effort from Charlie Amesbury.
The on-loan Harlequin scored again with seven minutes to go to make it 22-18 in his side's favour only for Oduoza to claim what appeared to be the winner.
That it wasn't leaves Bees in a desperate position ahead of next week's local derby with Coventry. Harvey said: "I didn't want to put pressure on the players before this one but Coventry is a must-win, we have to get five points. I don't care how we do it, we've just got to make sure we get back on track."