Colchester Rugby Club snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after losing 20-13 at Brentwood.

They came from behind to take the lead before allowing their opponents back into the game by conceding penalties.

Brentwood used those penalties to get close to the visitors’ line from where their pack trundled over to score tries to win the game, but Colchester head coach Danny Johnston wasn’t reading too much into the defeat.

He said: “The penalty count against us was huge and that allowed Brentwood to build a score, but it’s hard to be tough on our players.

“It was difficult conditions and Brentwood know how to play their own pitch.

“Our boys put in a hearty display and they worked incredibly hard to try to make the game work, but it was clear that it just wasn’t going to go their way and it’s difficult when it is like that.

“We’re philosophical about the defeat and we’ll now rebuild at home this weekend.

“We are measuring our progress by performances this year rather than results and we know what we need to do to improve.

“The biggest thing to take from this is how we manage the ball when we get it.

“We don’t need huge amounts of possession to do well, but when we do get it, we need to be a bit more precise with it.

“This is just one step along the way and a lot of teams will lose at Brentwood, so we’ll move on now.”

Brentwood, playing down the hill on their pitch in the first half, took the early advantage with two tries, but this jolted Colchester into action.

From a fumbled Brentwood lline-out, Colchester centre Matt Smith broke the defence before off-loading to wing Simon Parkinson, who raced in for a try.

The second half started with Colchester playing downhill with the wind behind them.

Dan Whiteman charged down a hasty clearance kick before chasing the loose ball for a try to equalise and when Colchester skipper James Crozier converted a penalty from 35 metres, they led 13-10.

However, Colchester’s over-eagerness to score again led to Brentwood thriving off penalties.

Three penalty kicks in as many minutes took Brentwood to the Colchester line and they regained the lead with an unconverted try.

Frustrated Colchester flanker Ollie Picket was then sin-binned for offside at a ruck and Brentwood repeated their kick to touch, line-out catch and drive for another try that finished the game.