Preston Grasshoppers lost heavily at Sheffield Tigers and swapped places with their Yorkshire opponents to sit bottom of National League Two North.
Hoppers failed to get on the scoresheet at Dore More in a bad afternoon which left survival in level four looking highly unlikely.
Hoppers head coach Garth Dew reflected: “It was a very poor performance from the off today. We had a lot of possession but failed to make the most of it, making simple mistakes and gifting the ball back to Tigers.
“Once again a lack of discipline cost us and we gave away too many needless penalties. There seemed to be a lack of leadership on the pitch which is concerning, and coming away to bottom of the league and not scoring a single point is unacceptable.
Hoppers conceded after only 40 seconds, when Jamie Broadley raced in for an easy score as Hoppers’ defence was none existent, and Mark Ireland added the extras.
Ireland added three more points with a penalty to put Tigers 8-0 up, with Hoppers failing to venture into the Tigers’ half in the game’s opening 10 minutes.
When they did get playing, Hoppers decided to opt for scrums instead of kickable penalties inside the Tigers twenty-two, a questionable decision with still over 60 minutes left on the clock.
The visitors were the better side in the second-quarter but failed to make their territorial advantage count, putting together some good phases but ultimately gifted possession back to their opposition via poor decision making and execution.
Ireland kicked another penalty to give Tigers a 13-0 lead at the break.
Hoppers frustrations at not being able to break down their opponents boiled over when flanker Phil Mills was sinbinned for backchatting the referee.
Tigers utilised their one-man advantage with another Ireland penalty and then bagged their second converted try.
Simple hands put fullback Peter Swatkins in for an easy touchdown to give Tigers an unassailable 23-0 advantage going into the final 10 minutes.
Broadley bagged his second try in the game’s final act, as Tigers ran out of time to bag a vital bonus point score.
Hoppers – Taylorson; Mayor, Forster, Hunt, Crosley; Allen, Glynn, Mabaya, Taylor, Altham, Gale, A. Murray, Mills, Bramhall, Logan.
Replacements – Beaty, Madden, Proctor, M. Murray, Hunt.