Cov’s come­back hurts their hosts

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS - ALEXAN­DER HAN­NAH

NA­TIONAL LEAGUE ONE MAC­CLES­FIELD .......... 13 COVEN­TRY ................... 21

MAC­CLES­FIELD were de­nied a los­ing bonus point after an heroic sec­ond-half come­back from a vis­it­ing Coven­try side who fought back from 13-3 down to win 21-13.

The first points of the af­ter­noon went to Mac­cles­field as debu­tant Sam Mar­land, on loan from the Cor­nish Pi­rates, kicked a penalty.

Coven­try re­sponded five min­utes later with a penalty of their own, kicked by cap­tain Cliff Hodg­son who scored the first of his 16-point haul for the af­ter­noon.

For the first time this sea­son the Blues were able to es­tab­lish a plat­form and dom­i­nate at the scrum. This pro­vided clean ball and pro­duced penal­ties on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions in the first half, debu­tant Mar­shall Gadd hav­ing a real in­flu­ence at loose head.

It was a Mac­cles­field scrum that helped to pro­duce the Blues’ first try of the half, the pack build­ing good pres­sure which al­lowed scrum-half and vice-cap­tain Jor­dan Brookes the room to sneak blind and get over the line out wide. Mar­land nar­rowly missed the con­ver­sion from out wide.

With the penalty count adding up for Mac­cles­field it was only so long be­fore the ref­eree reached to his pocket, and Jor­dan Ono­jaife was the un­lucky man for the vis­i­tors as he was pe­nalised at the break­down.

As the half-hour mark passed, Mac­cles­field claimed their sec­ond try.

Again dom­i­nance at the scrum cre­at­ing space on the blind­side for Brookes, who put Josh Fowles into a hole, Fowles fin­ish­ing su­perbly in the cor­ner.

Mar­land was again left with a tricky kick and just missed out, leav­ing the score at 13-3.

Shortly after the sec­ond Blues score, Coven­try were shown their sec­ond yel­low card of the half and were down to 13 men for a brief spell. How­ever they saw this tough pe­riod out with some as­tute de­fen­sive work.

Coven­try were re­warded for their strong de­fen­sive work with a penalty on the stroke of half-time. Hodg­son slot­ted the kick and sent his side in at the break seven points down.

There should have been more points on the board at half-time but fan­tas­tic de­fend­ing from both sides kept the score down.

It took 20 min­utes for the first points of the sec­ond half to be scored and for Coven­try to break through de­fence.

With a penalty ad­van-

the

host’s tage, fly-half Jones chipped in be­hind for winger Dom Le­spierre to pounce on. Hodg­son con­verted to level the scores at 13-13.

Coven­try took the lead im­me­di­ately after their first try, with another. The vis­i­tors counter-at­tacked swiftly and Hodg­son found some space to fin­ish out wide, this time to wide for him to tag on the two and marred what was oth­er­wise a per­fect kick­ing dis­play.

Both teams coughed up ball as the game be­came a lit­tle scrappy late on.

Coven­try were en­joy­ing spells of pos­ses­sion but the pace of the Mac­cles­field back­line was for­ever caus­ing the away side prob­lems on the coun­ter­at­tack, no­tably through debu­tant Sam James, and reg­u­lars El­liot and Matt King.

With a minute to play, Mac­cles­field gave away a penalty deep in their own 22.

Coven­try cru­elly opted for the three points, and Hodg­son duly de­liv­ered to deny the Blues their first point of the sea­son.

How­ever, there was still drama left in a fan­tas­tic game of rugby as Mac­cles­field missed late op­por­tu­ni­ties for three points.

Firstly from the kick­ing tee Sam Mar­land pushed his kick wide of the far post, then a missed drop goal at­tempt from Mar­land com­pleted the match and meant Mac­cles­field are still in search for their first points.

Bri­er­ley

Tony Carter

●● Josh Fowles went over in the cor­ner for Mac­cles­field but they fell to de­feat at home to Coven­try

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●● Blues brothers Sam and Jack Smith were Mac­cles­field’s mas­cots on Satur­day. The twins, who play for the Un­der-sevens, are pic­tured with cap­tain Mike Fin­nemore

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