Milton Keynes ran unbeaten Thatcham right to the wire but lost out late in the day, going down 33-30 at Emerson Valley on Saturday.
Still struggling with injuries, City fought valiantly, with the lead exchanging hands five times, but Thatcham had the upper hand in the scrums.
For the first half the visitors took control with City working off scraps for most of the time.
Despite this winger Danny Pearson was able to keep the home side in touch with two good individual tries. By half time City were just a point adrift.
The second half continued with an exchange of points with Phil Powell converting penalties.
With 15 minutes to go it looked as though City had enough on the board to expect a win.
There was some excellent forward play which resulted in Ben Fisher driving over the line to put the score at 30–21 to the home team.
The match remained even for the next 10 minutes with both sides competing well both in the forwards and the backs.
The turning point came when Thatcham took advantage of some sloppy play whereby a clearance kick with mishandled by the City winger as Thatcham scored in the corner. City remained in the lead, but the situation remained tense.
Further pressure was put on MK in the dying minutes of the game. Three points were awarded to Thatcham for a well taken drop kick and in the final throes of the game the referee awarded a penalty try to Thatcham under the posts. This, and the conversion was enough for the visitors to leave with a victory.