Miners had to battle back to record their first away win of 2013 and an important two points at York Acorn.
Whilst this wasn’t the prettiest of performances the value of the two points far outweighed the aesthetics as Miners continued their climb up the table. They were made to work hard by a resolute Acorn side still searching for their first success of 2013 and who had opened a 14-6 lead early in the second half but who never appeared entirely comfortable in closing out their advantage. Miners, who started brightly but lost their way either side of half time, regrouped well in the final quarter and although there were a few hairy moments in the closing stages they ultimately merited their success.
Injuries continue to mount up for the Leigh side with Martin Lewis returning to the sick-bay following his short-lived comeback the previous weekend, whilst Andrew Groves, Jonny Carroll and Luke Murfin were all unavailable. Jonny Youds returned to the side at centre with youngsters Ryan Monaghan and Andrew Hodson on the wings and Steve Tooze on the bench. Acorn had experienced campaigners Joe Budd, Allan Willetts and Davey Burns back in the side whilst dual code Jamaican international Tyrone Rowe was on the bench, and the York side also fielded a number of their talented youth products including Ryan Gallacher and Jordan Hyde, both of whom have signed for professional clubs in recent weeks.
In pretty fresh conditions Miners opened brightly although handling errors were much in evidence from both sides, in large part caused by the tenacious defensive efforts of both teams. However the visitors were dominating territory and they made the breakthrough inside the opening fifteen minutes, some slick passing by Scott O’Brien and Adam Thomason to Monaghan and as the winger was tackled he got the pass away which O’Brien gathered off his bootlaces and darted over the line, Youds goaling. The Leigh side continued to ask questions and Burns had to react quickly to dive on O’Brien’s grubber on his own line but as Miners couldn’t add to their score Acorn gradually grew into the game. In large part they were aided by the appearances of lively hooker Nick Speck and the wily old campaigner Tom Hill from the substitutes’ bench, with both having significant impact, and on the half hour Hill had engineered a try, placing a kick behind the defensive line which sat up on a plate for Adam Sellers to catch and crash over the line despite the attentions of Jimmy Muir. With their tails up the home side pressed on and right on half time they were ahead, Joe Porter bursting through and although he was tackled ten metres short by Adam Thomason the ball was spread quickly left and Burns managed to shake off the tackles and dive over the line, Anthony Chilton goaling for a 10-6 interval lead.
Miners thought they had an early response in the second half but O’Brien’s try claim was ruled out by the touch judge for a forward pass, and the visitors’ mood wasn’t improved as Acorn extended their advantage. Miners couldn’t clear their lines inside their own half and from the position the ball was moved left and Gallacher produced a classy winger’s finish, the youngster showing the speed and eye for the line which has prompted the City Knights to take him onto their books. Miners now had it all to do but they had time on their side and with the home side unaccustomed to defending winning positions this season there was always a sense that if they could get the next score they would be able to turn the game around. That score duly arrived on the hour and in simple fashion as Darryl Kay barged his way over the line from acting half, Youds goaling to narrow the gap to two points. Just four minutes later and Miners had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with a carbon copy try but from the unlikeliest of sources, O’Brien emulating the prop forward as he wrestled his way through at the play-the-ball despite the attentions of the markers. The closing stages would have been a lot more comfortable had the touch judge not again intervened to deny Miners a try, this time ruling that Youds had grounded the ball behind the dead-ball line after O’Brien’s kick flew off an Acorn player, but in the closing stages the visitors were to thank the zealous official as he made it a hat-trick of try denials – this time in Miners’ favour – as he ruled that Youds had tackled Budd into touch with a crunching effort as the Acorn stand-off went for the corner. With the very last play Miners underlined the win, Acorn with the forward pass on half way and Monaghan the beneficiary as he grabbed the intercept and showed his pace to score, Youds with the conversion to keep Acorn nailed to the bottom, and Miners creeping up the table.
Acorn – Ash Robson, Arran Thompson, Matt Woods, Adam Sellers, Ryan Gallacher, Joe Budd, Anthony Chilton, Danny Caldwell, Jimmy Mountford, Davey Burns, Joe Porter, Allan Willetts, Jordan Hyde Subs – Nick Speck, Joel Johnson, Tyrone Rowe, Tom Hill
Tries – Sellers (30), Burns (39), Gallacher (50)
Goal – Chilton
MoM – Nick Speck
Miners – Jimmy Muir, Ryan Monaghan, Adam Thomason, Jonny Youds, Andrew Hodson, Steven Marsh, Scott O’Brien, Kevin Howells, Tom Farrimond, Darryl Kay, Liam Coleman, Danny Jackson, Dave Rowlands Subs – Joe Harrison, Shaun McDonald, Todd Appleby, Steve Tooze
Tries – O’Brien (13, 64), Kay (60), Monaghan (79)
Goals – Youds 4
MoM – Scott O’Brien
Referee – Paul Stockman
Photos thanks to Alan Havercroft
« YORK ACORN (AWAY) WEST HULL (HOME) »