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Home > News > Fylde make hard work of beating the Lions
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Your News Fylde make hard work of beating the Lions
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18
JAN

A superior Fylde side made hard work of beating Leicester Lions at the Woodlands. Dominating possession in both halves meant little until Steve Nutt, Fyldes mercurial flyhalf, sprinted over in the corner for the decisive try on 76 minutes. Fylde move up to 3rd place in National Three (North) as a result.

The home side dominated the first period but struggled to turn pressure into points. The early minutes should have been a warning to Fylde that this Leicester side were more than happy to mix it in the forwards exchanges and to press into offside positions at any opportunity. Although referee Eric Woodmason saw most, although by no means all, of these offences and suitably penalised the visitors, amazingly he saw no reason to punish repeat offenders with sinbinning. The half-time count of four penalties given against Fylde and eleven against the Lions was a suitable numerical reflection of the situation but hardly indicated the disruption to Fyldes clean ball that these misdemeanours effected.

Nutt punished the Lions in the 23rd minute when he kicked a straightforward penalty, albeit into a gathering gale, for a 3-0 lead. Four minutes later Fylde extended their advantage with a fine try. Fylde pressed inside the Lions 22m line and moved the ball swiftly left. Quick hands released National Three Norths top try scorer, Oliver Brennand, who just had enough space to dive into the left corner. This was his 15th try of the season and illustrated why he is such a dangerous strike runner given any space in which to work. Nutts attempted conversion drifted wide but his side had a deserved 8-0 lead.

Fyldes impressive young fullback Mike Waywell was an early casualty and struggled for the rest of the match with a knee injury. When centre Tom Albinson limped off after 31 minutes to be replaced by Fylde's only back replacement Martin Wallwork, Waywell had little option but to struggle on for the remaining 50 minutes.

The injuries were causing disruption to the Fylde backline but the players didnt help themselves with some unconvincing running and passing. Just before half-time, a wayward Fylde pass in midfield was inconclusively dealt with and the Lions stormed downfield. Veteran centre Jody Peacock is no sprinter but has enough bulk and wherewithal to commit defenders to the tackle or to drive straight through half-hearted challenges. The ball reached blond winger Karl Pallas and he forced himself over in the right corner for a good, opportunistic try. Lions flyhalf Billy Blair converted beautifully from the touchline to reduce the deficit to a single point on the half-time whistle.

Fylde Director of Rugby Mark Nelson's mood wasn't improved when Nutt, in front of the posts although into the strong wind, put a straightforward penalty kick wide just before the interval. Nelson had hard words for his backs at the break and there was rather better co-ordination in the last 40 minutes. He spared his forwards who had worked hard, effectively and patiently against a game Lions pack. Fylde, through Canadian international and on loan Moseley lock Oliver Atkinson, had caused major disruption to the Lions lineout throws. The athletic Atkinson was outstanding throughout and has great speed and awareness for a big man.

The 2nd half was a grim battle which mainly took place in the Lions half as the gale and later driving rain was now behind the home side. The home side's scrummaging was improved by the introduction of prop Darren Clark just before the break although on balance the tight exchanges were pretty even.

On 56 minutes Nutt was pleased to kick a fine penalty from 40m out on the right to extend his sides lead to 11-7. But the Lions battled back and had a few chances to snatch the lead with thrusting attacks. The defences of both teams were generally effective although their respective backs frequently threatened to break free. By now, the play was end to end and on one occasion speedster Lions fullback Gareth Collins picked up a loose ball and broke free on the halfway line. Ordinarily he would have scored with ease but an even quicker player, Fyldes Nick Royle, had other ideas and chased him down. This was a heart stopping moment for the home supporters which could have resulted, in effect, in a defeat and the end of the Club's outside promotion chances. Home spirits weren't helped a few minutes later when a superb break by Nutt was wasted inexplicably as he took the ball into contact but with Royle free on his shoulder 25m out from the Lions line.

The decisive breakthrough was made on 76 minutes when ever more effective Fylde flanker Dave Wilks bravely won the ball on the ground. The ball found prop Andrew Irving who timed his pass superbly to release the rampaging Nutt who out sprinted the defence for a try near the posts. His conversion made the score 18-7 and Fylde had won the game. An uncharacteristic Brennand knock on with the line at his mercy in the last minute from another coruscating Nutt break spared the Lions a truer reflection of the overall match.

FYLDE: Waywell; Royle, Albinson (Wallwork 31), Hunter, Brennand; Nutt, Aikman; Simpson (Irving 60), Holmes, Irving (Clark 40), Atkinson, Banks (Ferguson 75), Palmer (Stephenson 76), Wilks, Beaumont.

Tries: Brennand 27, Nutt 76. Conversions: Nutt 76. Penalties: Nutt 23, 56.

LEICESTER LIONS: Collins; Pallas, Peacock, Cross, Marshall; Blair, Wright; Moore, Williamson(John), Murray, Kyte, Fraser, Gart, Howgate, Fagalilo. Reps: Williamson(Joe), Ager, Pegg, Rudkin, Dyment.

Try: Pallas 40. Conversions: Blair 40.

STAR MAN: Oliver Atkinson (Fylde).

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