Southport 6 - MGM 22
Choo choo. The beer train steams on.
For audio match report click here.
After last week’s one-sided affair against the young bucks of Prenton Academicals, yesterday saw a return to proper rugby, as the Machine won a hard-fought encounter away at old rivals Southport, for the annual beer train trip.
With a side buoyed by three of scrum-half Josh Goodall’s prison service compadres, the MGM started well in poor conditions, driving again and again at a tough-tackling Southport side. That pressure eventually told as Jack, one of the aforementioned prison service boys, crashed over the line to the left of the posts. Jonny Mulholland ably slotted the extras.
In spite of some good play for the rest of the half, the Machine was unable to make it over the line, with some of the play arguably a little too ambitious for the conditions. And Southport were staying in the game, eventually closing the deficit with a penalty kick at the end of the half.
Playing with the wind in the second half, the MGM opted for early points, taking a penalty kick in front of the posts to take the score to 10 – 3, before Southport returned the favour, taking the score to 10 -6.
At that point, with the game very much in the balance, MGM skipper Dave “Dave” Bentham was yellow carded for blatantly taking his man in the air at the lineout, and then a couple of minutes later, Josh Goodall decided to keep him company in the sin bin, receiving his card for slapping one of the Southport back row.
Down to 13 men, the Machine showed its mettle, defending like lions to prevent a resurgent Southport from getting back in the game.
Not only did Southport not score, the Machine marched downfield, before winning a penalty ten yards out. Opting to take it quickly, Josh span the ball to Jonny Mulholland, who dropped his shoulder to evade the on-rushing Southport defence and score under the posts, then converting his own try.
With a full complement restored, and the game looking safe, the Machine played smart, percentage rugby, aiming to play in Southport’s half, kicking for territory. A great chase to his own kick saw Jonny Mulholland pressure the full-back who fumbled the catch, allowing Jonny to gather and score in the corner, narrowly missing the conversion.
So a gritty 22 – 6 victory was the perfect way to set up the Machine for the beer train trip home, which doubled as Stevie No Shoulders’ stag do. Suffice to say a fine time was had by all. Vive le Machine!