Play-offs: Moseley 29 Rotherham Titans 30

Tristan Roberts' thunderstruck face said all there was to say about the denouement to this pulsating relegation play off.

With a single swish of his normally reliable right boot the young play maker entered the realms of disappointment known only to sports stars like John Terry, Chris Waddle and Darius Vassell.

Men who have looked glory square in the eye and opted instead for the cold embrace of ignominy.

Rotherham's Mike Whitehead landed his effort in the 74th minute - a straightforward goal that completed the visitors' 20-point comeback.

Five minutes into added time though, Roberts couldnt do the same from an almost identical position and what should have been a precious, five-point, 32-30 victory was instead a stomach-churning defeat.

Such is the pain of losing a penalty shoot-out.

Of course the parallel does not run completely true, this was not the association code nor should the price of failure be anything like as costly.

But for a few minutes at least Roberts, Moseley and their punch-drunk supporters looked as though their souls had been scooped out and trodden into the Billesley turf.

How does a kicker as reliable as Tristan Roberts - the league's leading scorer - miss a penalty a step or two to the side of the uprights and a mere 22m out, I asked Ian Smith.

"I dont know," the head coach conceded before absolving the dual registered youngster of too much responsibility.

Moseley, he said, should not have been in that position, they should not have allowed their 29-10 lead to disappear in less than half an hour.

Indeed they shouldn't but let's face it, it's not the first time. Cornish Pirates did just that in the regular season.

Which is one of the main reasons Moseley are in these relegation play offs. Such narrow losses as that one and the one at home to London Welsh have condemned them to skin-saving.

Their constant retreat into conservatism could be the undoing of a side that only 12 months ago played with such verve and fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants spirit.

Only when they chased the game in the last ten minutes did they look anything like that team. Only when they took the shackles off Justin Mensah-Coker and got the ball away from contact did they look anything like old selves.

That must be their approach for every minute of Saturday's trip to Coventry, after all they might as well lose knowing they've had a go than play within themselves and go down by a penalty again.

As things stand they're not making a very good job of saving their skins. Abject at Sharmans Cross Road last week, they were much better in this one but still found a way to squander a winning position.

One wonders how many more psychological blows they can take before they completely crumble.

And one wonders what effect this will have on Roberts, a young man who needed taking out of the firing line at No 10 and whose mental strength will be severely tested over the next month.

As will the rest of his team's.

MOSELEY: Roberts; Bressington, Keys,Reay, Mensah-Coker; Borgen, Taylor; Williams (Sigley 44 (Thomas 50)),Caves, Gilding (Williams 61), Evans (Rowland 69), Stott, Mason,Pennycook, Wilson. Reps not used: Oselton, Gasson, Gillick, Thirlby

ROTHERHAM: Hunt; Feeley, Maggs,Gidlow, Henderson; Whitehead, Chivers; ODonnell, Batty (Conroy 69),Prescott (Voisey 10-21, 25), Challinor (Barnes 40), Hayter, Swindall(Kleeberger 52), Kleeberger (Du Plessis 43), Burrows. Reps not used:Stimpson, Allen, West