Sandal win after second half come back
Scorers Tries :- Gareth Newman & Sean Maguire with Dan McCormack kicking 1 conversion & 4 penalties.
Burnage 20 Sandal 24
Sandal made a late comeback to take the win points but breathed a massive sigh of relief at the final whistle as the last play of the match saw a Burnage try disallowed in the corner as a result of great sportsmanship by the home touch judge who said that the right winger had put his foot in touch in the act of touching the ball down. Playing into the strong wind in the first half Sandal played through the phases from the kick-off but were unable to get out of their half as the home defence stood firm and Burnage opened the scoring on seven minutes with centre Adam Knight kicking a penalty after their visitors were penalised for holding on in the tackle. The home side increased their lead four minutes later as Knight swept up a Sandal dropped pass just inside his own half before making ground and feeding fellow centre Stuart Oldham who outpaced the cover to cross wide out. On twenty minutes impressive centre Oldham broke through on halfway and fed supporting winger Andrew Dowdall who touched down to the right of the posts with Knight converting to open up a fifteen point lead. Sandal finally responded with full back Tom Coad taking play close to the home line but with a clear overlap to the left from the resulting ruck the final pass was put to ground. On the stroke of half time centre Dan McCormack kicked a penalty to close the gap to twelve points.
Playing with the strong wind Sandal reduced the deficit early in the second half with another penalty from McCormack but Burnage hit back with a second try from elusive centre Oldham to leave the Milnthorpe Green men trailing by fourteen points with just under thirty minutes remaining. Sandal finally started playing the match in the right areas of the field and putting together numerous phases which stretched the home defence and resulted in tries from scrum half Gareth Newman who exploited an unguarded blindside and flanker Sean Maguire who used his power to force his way over the line. With McCormack converting one of the tries well from wide out; his side were now two points behind with fifteen minutes remaining. Further pressure resulted in the home side being caught offside twice and with McCormack kicking both penalties Sandal found themselves in the lead for the first time with ten minutes to play. Shortly after Sandal, having used all their replacements, were reduced to fourteen men as full back Coad was forced to retire with injury and then found themselves down to thirteen as they had a man sin-binned as Burnage laid siege close to their line. With the last play of the match confirmed by the referee it appeared that the home side, with an overlap, would snatch victory until the final dramatic denouement.
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