A LATE penalty which sailed through the posts left a shell-shocked Burton with just a losing bonus point from their trip to Silhillians.
Two converted tries from Harry Titley had helped give the Crofters a 17-10 lead at the interval.
But the hosts hit back after the break with a try and two penalties to seemingly dent the visitors’ play-off ambitions.
Of equal importance to events at Memorial Club House was the game between Old Laurentians and third-placed Hereford.
And Laurentians pulled off a shock by claiming a 22-18 victory which keeps Hereford one point behind Burton, having also played one game more.
Burton kicked off with the wind in their favour. Both sides enjoyed early possession in midfield and Jack Brooks broke the line – but could not find support.
In a game punctuated by penalties, the referee was quick to pull up players for not holding on in contact and tacklers for not releasing.
Jamie Hamilton, in his 50th appearance, Ben Burchell and Josh Cartwright all took Burton close to a score before the visitors gave away a penalty.
The Silhillians full back then made a 40-metre break to send out a warning to the visitors.
A 10-metre drive after a line-out was collapsed by the home side as Burton threatened.
Dave Archer hit the post from 40 metres, but was on target from a similar distance minutes later.
A Darryl Banton box-kick then turned the home full back, who was wrapped up by Archer to concede a penalty.
Banton was given kicking duty but saw his kick slip wide.
The Crofters retained field position and from a scrappy piece of play Titley picked up the ball and stormed through the defence to score. Banton added the extras.
Silhillians missed with a penalty before having a promising attack thwarted by a Burchell choke tackle.
However, the home side piled on the pressure, kicking penalties to the corner.
From a series of pick and goes, the blind side barged over for a converted try.
Making his return from injury, Will Roach replaced Craig Dutton, before Ian Gilmour put through a grubber kick which was well chased by Matt Boden and Titley.
Silhillians were pinned back and a promising drive after a line-out made ground, but ended with a penalty for the hosts.
The next Burton attack saw them go backwards with no-one wanting to take contact before Jono Parkinson set up a ruck.
Gilmour, Loz Betty and Will Books all then made ground. Tom Murphy slipped an inside pass to Titley who ran a great line to score. Banton drew the half to a close with a successful conversion.
Silhillians started the half with intent and swept into the Burton half, coming close to a score.
Sam Benjamin replaced Archer and Joe Briggs came on for Parkinson as the Crofters made changes.
Tempers flared after 14 second-half minutes and the referee went to his pocket. Gilmour and an opposing forward were both sin-binned.
The home side then missed a penalty before Silhillians exploited a huge gap with a chip and chase to score a try. The conversion attempt hit the post.
Burton responded with Tom Harris and Roach both on the charge. The move ended with a penalty which Banton kicked over.
With both sides back up to full strength, a long range penalty attempt from Archer went wide.
Soon after Silhillians were successful with a penalty attempt, made easier by Burton conceding 10 metres for dissent, as the hosts cut the gap to 20-18 with 10 minutes to play.
Burton chased the kick excellently and earned a scrum. Silhillians shunted Burton back in a common theme for the remainder of the game.
A penalty for offside was then awarded to Burton after a charge-down. The post came into play again to deny Banton three points.
Silhillians sensed they could win the game but the Burton was defence was solid. After several phases a counter-ruck earned the Crofters possession.
Agonisingly, the referee penalised Burton and awarded a penalty 30 metres out which Silhillians sent over to move ahead.
In the final throes Burton were again pinned back and a further penalty was conceded. It went wide in what was the last play of the game.