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LONDON SCOTTISH SURVIVE HALOWEEN FRIGHT TO GO SECOND

London Scottish ran out 26-18 victors against Cinderford at the Athletic Ground this afternoon after a very hard fought National League 1 match at the Athletic Ground. But the hosts suffered a fright, appropriately enough for Halloween, as the visitors took the lead with just minutes left. Scottish scored three tries to the visitors' two, but move to second in the table due to Wharfedale suffering their third successive defeat, and also make up ground on league leaders Esher, who lost at Sedgley Park. Scottish got three points on the board early on through a penalty from full back Frankie Neale inside the opening minute, but Cinderford replied just five minutes later, his opposite number Alistair Bressington crossing over in the left hand corner, although he was unable to send his conversion attempt over.

London Scottish ran out 26-18 victors against Cinderford at the Athletic Ground this afternoon after a very hard fought National League 1 match at the Athletic Ground. But the hosts suffered a fright, appropriately enough for Halloween, as the visitors took the lead with just minutes left. Scottish scored three tries to the visitors’ two, but move to second in the table due to Wharfedale suffering their third successive defeat, and also make up ground on league leaders Esher, who lost at Sedgley Park. Scottish got three points on the board early on through a penalty from full back Frankie Neale inside the opening minute, but Cinderford replied just five minutes later, his opposite number Alistair Bressington crossing over in the left hand corner, although he was unable to send his conversion attempt over.

Another penalty from Neale put Scottish back in the lead shortly before the quarter hour, although Bressington subsequently missed an opportunity kick three points himself to restore Cinderford’s advantage. Then, on 25 minutes, Neale extended the hosts’ lead with a well taken try following a move that began with Scottish being awarded a penalty on halfway.

MPU

Neale kicked that into touch on the left, and from the resulting line-out, a huge pass out to the right from scrum half Simon Amor found second row Alex Karonias who made a surging run for the line, the ball eventually getting to Neale for to cross over.

With the conversion attempt drifting just wide, and despite another couple of decent chances for the hosts that failed to translate into points as a result of a forward pass and a knock-on, that were that was the last score of what was a fairly cagey first half, Scottish going in 11-5 ahead at the interval.

Within four minutes of the restart, Scottish had stretched their lead to 11 points through a try from winger David Howells, but any thoughts that his score may have ended Cinderford’s resistance evaporated as the Forest of Dean side began to put the Scottish defence under sustained pressure.

The visitors appeared to have scored a pushover try at one point, but the referee signalled a five-metre scrum to the Scottish, whose organised and spirited defence held up well against the onslaught and in the end Cinderford had to be content with three points from another Bressington penalty for their efforts. That score came on 53 minutes, and four minutes later, the full back added another, narrowing the scoreline to 16-11.

Just after the hour, Cinderford took the lead, replacement Paul Boston intercepting to go over under the posts to set up the easiest of conversion opportunities for Bressington. With news arriving that Esher, who had kicked off earlier, had lost at Sedgley Park, a near 1,000-strong crowd gave the Scottish players vocal encouragement but now Cinderford’s defence showed their mettle, the hosts unable to find a way through.

The lifeline came on 78 minutes, when Scottish were awarded a penalty nearly 30 metres out in front of the posts. A deathly silence fell over the ground as Neale addressed the ball, replaced by cheers of relief as the ball sailed over between the uprights. Then, almost immediately from the restart, the home side clinched victory when Amor went over following a huge push from the forwards, Neale adding the conversion in a faultless kicking display to make the final score 26-18.

London Scottish head coach Brett Taylor said that he believed that his side’s display in the face of a well executed, physical game plan from Cinderford demonstrated “great character” and was a reflection of “all the hard work that the squad has put in during training in the last few weeks.”

Next week, Scottish make the long trip to Cornwall to visit seventh-place Redruth for a 2.30 kick-off, while the day’s biggest fixture sees leaders Esher host Cambridge, who now lie third, a point ahead of Wharfedale and two behind Scottish.

Home Team
London Scottish: 26 (Tries: Neale, Howells, Amor; Conversions: Neale (3); Penalties: Neale (2))
Away Team
Cinderford: 18 (Tries: Bressington, Boston; Conversion: Bressington; Penalties: Bressington (2))
Home Team
London Scottish: Neale, Piotroski, McInroy, Trueman (capt), Howells, Brown (J), Amor, Johnson (M), Silvester, Fahey, Karonias, Palmer, Brown (O), Lonergan, Lipp (Replacements: Standfield, Johnson (C), Volley, Ball, Damant).
Away Team
Cinderford: Bressington, Winchle, Plummer, Scourfield, Haile, Pointon, Knight (capt), Smart, Matthews, Deacon, Bufton, Jones, Foden, McNeill, Evans (Replacements: Kennedy, Panoho, Boston, Wilcox, Fortey).
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