HORDEN suffered a torrid afternoon in Durham Northumberland One when they were beaten at their main rivals for fourth place, Gosforth.
The colliery side began badly when they conceded an early try at Druids Park and things went steadily downhill as they failed to put in the tackles against some rampaging Gos forwards.
They also finished one man short. Having brought on all three subs, Horden lost back row player Stephen Heckles with an injury,m forcing them to play the final 15 minutes with 14 men.
Horden had started the day with a six-point lead over Gosforth but that advantage is now down to just one.
The defeat in Newcastle completed a bad few days for Horden who saw skipper Richie Thirkell leave to join National League side Westoe at the end of last week.
"We let ourselves down," said coach Dave Turner. "The build-up to the game had been great and the lads were buzzing.
"But we seemed to leave it all behind in the dressing room.
"They had a couple of big forwards but you can't afford to fall off tackles like we did."
Horden did not aid their cause by missing a couple of penalties and they also knocked on a try-chance with the line at their mercy.
But overall, they were well beaten with only David Heckles in the backs and lock Paul Malcolm rising above the mediocrity.
There was also a promising performance from try-scorer Andrew Rollins, who filled the void left by Thirkell.