BOURNEMOUTH remained rock-bottom of National Two South as they went down 15-14 to Barnes in the death rattle of an epic game at Chapel Gate.

Late in the match, cries of a knock-on by Barnes off a scrum that Lions had dominated were not heard by the referee.

As the home defence paused, prop Cameron Ruddock made no mistake for Barnes, gathering the ball and scoring in the corner to take his team into the one-point lead that settled the affair.

And, yet again, it was a story of what might have been for the home side, as second-row Toby Kenneally was sent off for a dangerous tackle inside the half-hour.

Bournemouth performance director Richard Sharp said: “It’s probably not a conspiracy.

“But a spurious red card was always going to make it tough for us.”

There were signs of things to come when, during the warm-up, veteran Sam Hardcastle was knocked unconscious and ruled out of the match.

And Barnes wing Paul O’Dell wasted little time, opening the scoring on eight minutes from an interception, with stand-off Josh Hammett adding the extras.

Ten minutes later, Hammett added a penalty to take his team to 10-0 where the score stayed until half-time.

From there, Bournemouth showed the fight that has brought them so close so often this season.

Player-coach Mike Pope scored his team’s first try shortly after the restart, and the returning Grant Hancox converted.

Lions took the lead moments later when full-back Alex Sutherland scored a long-range try that Hancox converted again.

Bournemouth’s 14 men dominated possession and territory and looked to have sewn up the win, until the last-minute mistake that ultimately ended their hopes.

“We just feel like we never get any luck,” said Sharp.

Since then, the Rugby Football Union has suspended all rugby activity in England at both professional and community level due to the COVID-19 pandemic until April 14, subject to continued review.