Acklam 20 Sunderland 19
Acklam struggle but just hang on for a narrow win
Acklam did not play well, scraping a 20 - 19 win against Sunderland, who could consider themselves to be unlucky to just fall short of upsetting the league leaders. However, because of Acklam's win and other results going their way their lead at the top of Durham and Northumberland 2 has increased to 4 points.
Visitors Sunderland had Acklam under pressure in the scrums from the start. In the first few minutes a speculative Sunderland kick through was touched down by the home side for a 22 restart. However Acklam drew first blood when a break by stand off Len Hogg
was carried on by Danny Ashton to enable winger Chris Mallam
to score a good try to celebrate his return to the first XV after breaking his collar bone last season.
But Sunderland came back a few minutes later when they kicked and regathered to run in a breakaway try under the posts and take a 5 - 7 lead. The game continued to see saw as the home team ran back a loose Sunderland clearance and after a few phases second row Danny Moss
charged over to score, converted by Ashton to restore Acklam's lead. They were then pegged back again as Sunderland's number 10 jinked through some poor defence to level things up at 12 - 12 after 20 minutes. Both sides were full of attacking intent and Acklam again got their nose in front when a free flowing move created an overlap and number 8 Andy Dalton
went over in the corner.
Acklam led 17 - 12 at half time. Unlike most games this season Acklam were unable to pull away from their opponents in the second half as Sunderland kept the home team on the defence for long periods. After 53 minutes a driving maul from a line out resulted in a try for Sunderland, with an excellent touchline conversion putting them back ahead at 17 - 19. Acklam were now staring a shock defeat in the face but they came back again. After Acklam skipper Ben Pearson
was held up on Sunderland's line the visitors were penalised for offside and Ashton kicked the penalty to put Acklam just back in front at 20 - 19. The last 20 minutes were very tense with Sunderland still on the attack. Acklam survived a scare when the visitors missed a very kickable penalty with a few minutes to go. Then, right at the end a great tackle by replacement centre Ricky Scott
snuffed out a threatening Sunderland attack, with the tackled player penalised for holding on to the ball. This enabled Acklam to clear their lines and hold on for victory by the narrowest of margins, 20 -19.
Updated 13:33 - 1 Oct 2017 by Paul I'Anson