YORK Acorn's hopes of going top of National Conference League division one for 24 hours at least were quashed when they were beaten 34-24 at winless Saddleworth Rangers.

Acorn will know they gave a performance that lacked its usual energy and they were flat to say the least.

Far too many times they failed to collect passes or interceptions, which normally would have resulted in points.

Openings were created but chances went begging and their hosts took full advantage to take the spoils.

Saddleworth took the lead in the third minute, when their stand-off Chris Hough initiated the opening before sending winger Danny Bowker over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Acorn almost immediately hit back, when, on six minutes, the Chilton and Brown axis combined to put second rower Tom Hill in for a try. Chilton's conversion gave them the lead at 4-6.

The next score didn't arrive until the 24th minute, when Acorn's ability to keep the ball alive on the last tackle in their host's 20-metre zone served them well, when substitute forward Daryll North crashed over for an Anthony Chilton goaled try that stretched Acorn's lead to 4-12.

Moments later Acorns joy turned from joy to despair, when on 27 minutes they allowed a hopeful crossfield kick to land behind their try-line and the Oldham-based side's impressive centre Steven Nield took full advantage to score a try which scrum-half Josh Bradbury goaled to reduce Acorn's lead to 10-12.

Within minutes Acorn were back behind their posts and Bradbury was notching his second conversion to put his side 16-12 up.

The reason being that Saddleworth's powerful pacey winger Gavin Dodd capitalised on an excellent inside pass to explode through the created gap and race in from 30m.

Saddleworth were enjoying the second quarter of the game and, on 35 minutes, they increased their lead to 22-12 with a further converted score out wide.

A 37th-minute penalty goal from the boot of Bradbury increased their lead to 24-12 with the half-time whistle looming.

Right on the stroke of half time, Acorn gave themselves a glimmer of hope when a Chilton reverse kick caused mayhem in the Saddleworth in goal area and substitute forward Jack Byrne's was on hand to score a try goaled by Chilton that saw Acorn trail 24-18 at the break.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half proved to be a defence-dominated period with Acorn increasingly getting more and more frustrated at their own sides inability to keep possession and therefore not create pressure at the right end of the park.

Frustration led to an increase in the penalty count and gradually Saddleworth made the blue and golds pay.

Firstly, on 60 minutes, Bradbury increased his side's lead to 26-18 by virtue of a penalty goal before on 70 minutes their loose forward Gareth Morgan and second rower Adam Jeffrey created the pressure for the hosts to force their way over for a converted try that put them into a healthy 32-18 lead.

Acorn set up a tense final few minutes when, on 77 minutes, a Brown kick found its way into the hands of Acorn winger Ryan Gallacher, who scored a try goaled by Chilton that cut the host's lead to 32-24.

Unfortunately for Acorn they were judged guilty of ball stealing and Bradbury rounded off the game's scoring with the resultant penalty to seal their deserved win.

Back to back defeats for Acorn will mean their will be plenty of soul searching before they travel to a potentially-tricky third away game in a row at Myton.