WESTCLIFF edged out Romford & Gidea Park 15-14 to secure a seventh successive victory – but even this did not satisfy manager Rick Compton.
The lack of a bonus point saw Westcliff’s lead over Eton Manor cut to three points ahead of the two teams meeting this weekend.
And Compton wants more to see off Westcliff’s title rivals.
“We’re pleased with the result but not the performance and know we must play much better against Eton Manor,” said Compton.
“The win was important and the lads should be congratulated for pulling it out of the fire but that must not hide the fact that the level of play was below par and no way good enough to achieve a result at Eton Manor.
“Our lead over them has now been reduced to three points and we must take our best game with us on Saturday and the lads are under no illusions about that.”
Playing uphill in the first half, Westcliff were put under pressure by the home side who, with nothing to lose, took the game to them.
Westcliff, in contrast, were lacklustre and flat and spent most of the opening period defending strong Romford drives and quickly spread ball.
The hosts led 7-0 at the break but Westcliff hit back to within two points with an unconverted try from Dave Cosgrove .
The visitors then went in front in the 69th minute when they created the time and space for winger Greg Bannister to cross the line in the corner.
The conversion was added by Jack Jones to make it 12-7 but, five minutes from time, Romford went back in front when a converted try handed them a 14-12 lead.
However, Westcliff dug deep to avoid a shock and damaging defeat as they drove in to the home-side’s territory and forced a penalty which while a long way and out wide on the left was certainly kickable.
Jones again took on the responsibility and struck the ball well to secure another win.