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CAPTAIN Phil Boulton said Coventry were their own worst enemies as they ground out a 31-24 win at Loughborough Students.

The National League One leaders were pressed all the way by a lively home side, but survived to come away with maximum points and preserve a 16-point gap at the top of the table.

“It was a difficult game, but we made it hard work for ourselves,” said tight head prop Boulton.

“We knew Loughborough are an 80-minute team and that they keep going, and we wanted to make sure we came out and had a good start to try to lay an early foundation.

“We didn’t do that, so it just made it a bit of an arm wrestle and a long slog for us.

“Obviously, we’re happy with the result, but the performance left a bit to be desired.”

Could Cov’s performance in some way be attributed to playing on a synthetic surface after a run of games on wet and muddy pitches, or to any disruption caused by the loss of George Oram in the warm-up to a calf injury?

“I don’t know if the pitch affected us – you’d like to think it would be easier going that way than the other,” said Boulton. “We trained on that type of pitch all week in preparation, and we trained well, and we’ve played on it earlier in the season at Rosslyn Park.

“Maybe there was a bit of a hangover, but for whatever reason we weren’t quite there.

“The late changes didn’t affect us at all. It wasn’t a new player coming in and I thought Brett Daynes had a fantastic game. Brett came in and did a job, and it was nice to have Sam (Tuitupou) back as well on the bench along with Heath (Stevens).

“It was a shame for George, but he’s a swamp master and not really made for these 4G surfaces.”

With weekend defeats for both third and fourth-placed Ampthill and Plymouth Albion, is the title realistically now a two-horse race between Cov and Darlington Mowden Park?

“It is, and it isn’t,” said Boulton. “We’ve said it from day one, we are inward looking with the mentality of just thinking about the next week and the next job. We don’t think about what other teams are doing, it’s all about us.”