Boston Rugby Club were beaten 66-3 on the road at Midlands 3 East (North) rivals Chesterfield Panthers.
Playing third-placed Chesterfield away would prove a challenge to a full-strength squad, but the Blue and Whited travelled with only 14 players on Saturday.
And after 10 minutes it was mission impossible as they were down to 13.
Unavailability, injury and flu saw Boston’s playing resources slashed.
The 14 players who travelled, many still not 100 per cent fit, did the club proud and battled heroically through the 80 minutes.
If the team and supporters thought things could not get any worse, the second half saw Boston play with only 12 players.
Boston, did manage a penalty in the second half, through the boot of Mathew Bray.
With Sleaford losing in the last few minutes away to fellow relegation rivals Nottingham Moderns, the gap between Boston and Sleaford has been reduced to two points.
Boston currently sit third bottom, one place above Sleaford, who occupy the final relegation spot.
On Saturday, Boston host Grimsby in a must-win game (KO 3pm).
BOSTON: Sampson, Dowse, Lane, Betts, Brogan, Jones, Coley, Bray, T. Andrews, J. Andrews, Cowern, G. Baldwin, Peng, M. Baldwin.