Persistence pays off for Stockport
AMID a game interspersed with heavy showers, both teams managed to produce an entertaining match, even though the conditions prompted plenty of mistakes.
An early penalty awarded to Manchester enabled them to take the lead, 3-0.
‘Port were struggling to break out of their own half during the first encounters, mainly due to some good kicking from the home side’s No 10.
The first incursion into Manchester’s 22 resulted in a good catch and drive, halted by ‘Port knocking on.
The visitors were being caught offside a lot, culminating in a yellow card for Richard Sackville-West.
Whilst down to 14 men Stockport conceded an unconverted try, after a clever cross field kick enabled Manchester’s right winger to touch down, 8-0.
With the half almost over, ‘Port were awarded a penalty and opted for the kick to the corner.
Another good ‘rumble’ from the line out saw Tom Gardner score his second try of the season, converted by Tom Eaton, to make the half time score 8-7.
The second half started similar to the first, with the visitors caught offside again. Andy McFadden this time picking up a yellow card for Stockport.
Manchester took the penalty quickly, catching ‘Port unaware with a second penalty resulting.
From the kick to the corner, Manchester caught and drove which was well defended by ‘Port, but the home side recycled and scored their second try through their impressive No 12, this time converted, 15-7.
All through the game Stockport’s set scrum had been impressive, but their line outs had been a bit hit and miss.
As the contest entered the last quarter, Stockport’s game started to come together, helped a little by a Manchester yellow card for a high tackle on scrum half Duffy.
Dean Schofield made a good break into the home side’s 22 and found Joe Wilson supporting well to score Stockport’s second try which remained unconverted, 15-12.
‘Port were starting to exert some control at last and when Kieron Hibbs took a quick free kick, Simon Green made a great break, again well supported by Joe Wilson going in for his second try, converted by Tom Eaton, 15-19.
There were still 10 minutes left and Manchester had not finished.
A short period of home pressure well defended by ‘Port, resulted with Manchester being bundled into touch at the corner flag – a close shave!
As play ran into the final minute, more Stockport pressure caused a mistake in the home defence which Tom Duffy was quick to seize upon, running in for the bonus point try, this time unconverted.
In the end a good performance from ‘Port, who stuck to their game plan throughout and with a little more precision, could have come away with a more comfortable victory. Manchester played their part in a good game, both sides showing excellent spirit.