Bat­tling Blues brave in de­feat

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS -

NA­TIONAL LEAGUE ONE MAC­CLES­FIELD .......... 29 DAR­LING­TON MP ....... 33

MAC­CLES­FIELD showed great re­silience to col­lect two bonus points from their de­feat to Dar­ling­ton Mow­den Park, de­spite hav­ing just 12 men on the field at one stage.

It was a game which at one point could have turned into another heavy de­feat as they were shown three yel­low cards in three min­utes.

A night­mare start for the Blues saw them five points down after five min­utes, an early lack in dis­ci­pline lead­ing to the vis­i­tors gain­ing good field po­si­tion and a set-piece ended in a well-taken try from winger Henry Robin­son.

Mac­cles­field re­sponded quickly with fly-half Tom Mor­ton’s well-hit penalty to stay in touch.

How­ever, mid­way through the half the vis­i­tors’ lock for­ward Ben Gled­hill coasted in and touched down to ex­tend their lead to 12-3.

The Blues re­sponded with a score of their own five min­utes later. Mac­cles­field were dom­i­nat­ing the play and even­tu­ally the Dar­ling­ton de­fence gave way, El­liot Bri­er­ley pounc­ing on a loose ball in be­hind to touch down un­der­neath the posts, from where Mor­ton kicked an easy con­ver­sion to make the scorer 12-10.

Now in the as­cen­dancy, Mac­cles­field took the lead with half an hour on the clock.

Some fan­tas­tic rugby from the Blues ended in Matt O’Re­gan evad­ing sev­eral poor tack­les and div­ing over, Tom Mor­ton again adding the ex­tras, to put his side17-12 up.

But Dar­ling­ton stole back the lead on the stroke of half-time. It was a spe­cial solo try from fly-half Grant Con­non who danced through count­less Mac­cles­field tack­les to put DMP 17-19 ahead at the break.

There was lit­tle ac­tion in the sec­ond half un­til the hour mark when the Blues’ dis­ci­pline – a real Achilles heel this sea­son – was again called into ques­tion with the three sin-bins in as many min­utes.

Cap­tain Mike Fin­nemore was the first sent to the bin, swiftly fol­lowed by Billy Robin­son.

A penalty try mo­ments later also re­sulted in Matt King be­ing sent to join his team-mates, mean­ing Macc were down to 12 play­ers and 26-17 in ar­rears.

Mac­cles­field de­fended hero­ically and dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings to en­sure they sur­vived the pe­riod of be­ing three men down with­out a scratch.

In fact, de­spite their dom­i­nance, Dar­ling­ton only man­aged to get the next score as soon as Macc were back to their full com­ple­ment.

A strong driv­ing maul from the set-piece saw them coast over the line, hooker Matt Thomp­son touch­ing down to take the score to 33-17 with just eight min­utes to play.

Dar­ling­ton were then re­duced to 14 men for Robin­son’s in­fringe­ment at the break­down five min­utes from time, award­ing some mo­men­tum to the Blues for the clos­ing stages.

And Bri­er­ley got his sec­ond try of the game, fin­ish­ing off after Mac­cles­field at­tacked at a great pace, one that the Dar­ling­ton de­fend­ers sim­ply couldn’t han­dle and Mor­ton put him in to of­fer some hope at 33-24.

And with two min­utes left on the clock, the Blues set up a grand­stand fin­ish.

The backs com­bined bril­liantly to cre­ate space out wide for lead­ing try scorer King to grab his 11th of the sea­son and put his side within four points of their op­po­si­tion.

De­spite this, Dar­ling­ton held out for the five-point win, Mac­cles­field tak­ing two but leav­ing the field with their pride in­tact.

●● The Blues’ mas­cot on Satur­day was Wil­liam Folkes. The Un­der-sevens player, who led them out for the game against Dar­ling­ton Mow­den Park, is pic­tured with cap­tain Mike Fin­nemore

●● The Clapham’s Land­scapes man-of-the-match was awarded to Dave Mar­wick (pic­tured with club chair­man Peter Harper)

●● Mac­cles­field’s Tom Mor­ton im­pressed with the boot against Dar­ling­ton Mow­den Park but the Blues suf­fered another de­feat

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