AN INEXPERIENCED Basildon side suffered their fourth defeat in five games, losing 27-17 at Braintree.
Three players made their debuts in the reverse against their Essex rivals.
But Braintree started well and used the wind to good effect, kicking for position and running strongly.
Despite some brave tackling, most notably from new boy Ben Brown on the wing, the hosts were able to score three good tries, one of which was converted, to give them a 17-0 lead at half-time.
At the start of the second period, the Basildon pack remained under pressure and a penalty try put Braintree 24-0 in front.
Things were now looking bleak for the visitors but they started to edge their way back into the match.
And, with their set pieces stabilising a little, they finally got some good ball near the Braintree line.
That resulted in a determined charge by impressive flanker James Bunce and his resulting offload led to debutant Ross Boshier grabbing a well-deserved try.
Charlie Baker added the conversion and, 15 minutes later, a break by centre Ben White enabled Brown to speed through to score.
It was now all Basildon and, with five minutes left, they scored their best try when stand-off Jamie White broke and fed winger John Bonnet, who put in the speedy full back Dave Berg.
That made it 24-17 and Braintree were now starting to worry.
But their nerves were soothed with a penalty kick with two minutes to go meaning Basildon were denied a losing bonus point.