Toulon missed a chance to move to the summit of the Top 14 as they lost 15-12 to Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday.
Neither side managed to produce a try in a tight contest at Stade Andre Moga, with 24 of the 27 points instead coming from the boots of Jonathan Pelissie and Simon Hickey.
The ninth successful penalty of the game proved to be the match-winner for the hosts and was drilled over by scrum-half Baptiste Serin with just two minutes left.
Bordeaux led 9-6 at the break and the goal-kicking duel continued throughout an attritional and often feisty encounter.
Toulon's cause was not helped by the loss of back-rower Duane Vermeulen to a yellow card in the opening minute, or by the fact that Ma'a Nonu was also sent to the bin early in the second half.
A win would have taken Bernard Laporte's men above Stade Toulousain and Racing 92 and into pole position, but instead they remain third ahead of next weekend's trip to Oyonnax.
Bordeaux, meanwhile, climb three places to fifth and will fancy their chances of securing back-to-back wins when they host rock-bottom Agen on Saturday.