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Club smash-and-grab job leaves Scottish with plenty to ponder

Club smash-and-grab job leaves Scottish with plenty to ponder

A late try by replacement Sean Moan gave Blackheath victory over London Scottish in the opening game of the new National League One season at the Athletic Ground this afternoon, delivering an early setback to the hosts' 2010/11 campaign.

A late try by replacement Sean Moan gave Blackheath victory over London Scottish in the opening game of the new National League One season at the Athletic Ground this afternoon, delivering an early setback to the hosts’ 2010/11 campaign.

The match was the third league meeting of 2010 between the two London sides, each marked by late drama, with today’s game looking to be heading for a repeat of the draw here that marked the final London Scottish home game of last season, until Moan struck to give Club what, on balance, was a deserved victory following a match characterised by handling errors by both sides.

MPU

Earlier, Scottish had claimed the first points of the season inside the opening minutes through a penalty from full back Frankie Neale, facing his former club, with Blackheath outside centre Sam Windsor replying in kind shortly afterwards to level the scores.

On ten minutes, Scottish should have scored down the left after two well-worked phases of possession that had begun with an enterprising quick tap free kick by flanker Willie Lipp, but left wing Stephen Hitateh couldn’t get a clean grasp on the final pass from fellow debutant Sam Harding and knocked on.

Neale then had an opportunity to restore his side’s three-point advantage but shanked his penalty kick wide from 15 metres out, and despite Scottish dominating territory, the momentum swung Blackheath’s way on the quarter hour when home prop Matt Johnson was sin-binned.

The visitors immediately pressed home their numerical advantage after a jinking run from right wing James Stephenson put the home defence in disarray, the ball finding prop Harry Allen who evaded a series of tackles to touch down for an 8-3 lead, Windsor pushing his conversion attempt just wide.

Blackheath’s try stung Scottish into action, and they took the game to their opponents, denying them the chance of turning their temporary superiority in numbers into further points, and once parity in numbers had been restored, a Neale penalty kick reduced the deficit to two points.

That turned out to be the last score of the first half, although shortly before the interval, Scottish appeared to have taken the lead after right wing Tim Holgate burst through the Blackheath defence following a well-worked move, only for referee Michael Tutty to penalise the hosts for crossing.

Following the restart, it was Blackheath who found themselves a man short after flanker Richard Pike was shown the yellow card, and a series of attacks by Scottish inside the Blackheath 22 ended in Harding bursting through the visitors’ defence to touch down underneath the posts and set up the easiest of conversion chances for Neale, who put Scottish 13-8 ahead.

Things seemed set to go from bad to worse for Blackheath as they were reduced to 13 men, with tighthead prop Desmond Brett sent to the sin bin, but just as Scottish looked set to press home their advantage, Ian McInroy was caught in possession in midfield and the ball bounced loose for Windsor to gather and head for the line for an improbable score in what proved to be the game’s turning point.

Although the inside centre missed the conversion that would have given Blackheath the lead, and minutes later a penalty kick from an identical position similarly drift wide, once the sides were back to 15 men apiece, the momentum was with the visitors.

Blackheath looked to have scored after Tyson Lewis burst down the left to touch down in the corner, but Holgate had done enough to nudge the winger into touch as he sped down the line.

The home team’s respite was short-lived, however, as moments later another move down the left, again involving Lewis, resulted in Moan getting the winning score, Windsor this time putting his kick between the uprights for a final score of 20-13 in what was very nearly the last kick of the game.
 

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