Cov’s comeback hurts their hosts
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-
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.
●● Josh Fowles went over in the corner for Macclesfield but they fell to defeat at home to Coventry
●● 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