Rasen were left to rue missed opportunities and a lack of discipline as Paviors pulled off an unlikely comeback win at Willingham Road on Saturday.
The Red and Greens dominated the first half and began confidently with an early penalty which provided the platform for a lineout catch and drive which desperate defence just managed to hold up.
Under continued pressure, Paviors conceded another penalty for fly-half Dan Robinson to open the scoring after 11 minutes with a simple kick.
Paviors made few visits into Rasen’s half, while the home side created several scoring opportunities, but simply couldn’t finish them off.
Full-back Adam Goodwin was on the end of a sweeping move, but was held up over the line, and when Rasen stretched the Paviors defence with a well-worked backline move, winger Nick Harvey couldn’t cling on to the pass with a clear run to the line after good work from Paul Gutteridge,
Josh White then opened up the defence only for the move to founder with a penalty for crossing.
There was only one side in the match, but it took a blindside break from a set scrum for Chris Everton to dart over the line and extend the Rasen lead. But it was scant reward for the level of territory and possession the hosts had enjoyed as they remained camped in the Paviors half for the rest of the half without adding to the scoreline.
After being under the cosh for most of the first half, and trailing 8-0 at half-time, Paviors made an explosive start to the second and soon had Rasen desperately defending in their own 22.
The confidence and composure of the first half evaporated as Dave Starling received a yellow card in the fifth minute, and three minutes later Tom Alldridge joined him on the touchline.
Paviors couldn’t believe their luck and quickly punished Rasen with a catch and drive, finished off by flanker Sam Johnson and converted by Chris Oswin, to put them just one point behind.
The two-man advantage was exploited again as the extra space allowed Paviors to stretch the Rasen defence and create space for Tom Winning to sprint down the touchline.
Tom Stephens made a valiant effort to fly across from the opposite wing, but his despairing tackle was too high, earning him a yellow card and the visitors a penalty try under the posts. Oswin rubbed further salt in the wounds with the simple conversion.
Rasen managed to avoid any further setbacks before they were returned to full strength, but this had clearly sapped their confidence.
There was no panic in the home ranks, however, as they patiently sought a way back into the game.
The Paviors resolve was now greater with a lead to protect, but when Jake Goodison hacked through a loose ball, Robinson won the ensuing foot race for a try in the corner.
Trailing their opponents by a point with 15 minutes left, both teams battled hard, with Rasen striving for another score and Paviors clinging on to their precious lead.
But there was no change as the final whistle sounded and Rasen were left to ponder on a win that got away.
Rasen slipped a place to ninth and will look to end a run of narrow defeats on Saturday when they travel to Bugbrooke who are only five points ahead in the league. Kick-off is 2.15pm.
Rasen: C. Starling, Alldridge, Haig (Southwell), Mills, Chamberlin, Grant (Inman), Pryer, D. Starling, C. Everton, Robinson, Stephens, White, Gutteridge, Harvey (Goodison), Goodwin.