"THE best team probably didn't win", according to Newcastle Falcons head coach after the Bedford Blues came within seconds of becoming the first team to defeat the runaway Championship league leaders.
Points from the boots of Myles Dorrian and Mark Atkinson established a 15-10 lead for the Blues who looked set to hold on for a famous win at Kingston Park and end the hosts' 17-match league winning streak.
But Noah Cato, the former Saracens wing on loan from Northampton, scored a late, late which was converted by Jimmy Gopperth, the league's leading scorer, with the last kick of the game to break Blues' hearts.
The defeat was rough on Mike Rayer's side who had eschewed their usual free-flowing game in favour of a kicking game based on securing territory.
It does, however, give them hope ahead of the end of season play-offs they can match Newcastle.
“That was a major wake-up call for us," said Richards.
“The best team probably didn’t win, if I am honest, because Bedford played in the right areas much better than us and deserved something.
“Normally they are an attacking side, but they came up here and kicked tactically much better than us.”