PLYMOUTH Albion’s British & Irish Cup hopes were ended at the quarter-final stage by Leeds at Headingley on Friday night.
After conceding two early tries, Albion hit back in a thrilling match and went 18-10 up with dangerous backs Tom Bowen and Chris Elder touching down and fly-half Declan Cusack kicking eight points with the boot.
Promotion-hopefuls Leeds, who had scored tries through lively wings Jonah Holmes and David Doherty in the opening seven minutes, had lock Richard Beck sin-binned in the 28th minute for a professional foul but the home side actually out-scored Albion while he was off the field to close to within one point.
And, in first half injury-time, Plymouth had fly-half Cusack shown yellow for a high tackle and Leeds full-back Alex Lozowski, who had scored their third try minutes earlier, kicked the resultant penalty to put his team 20-18 up at the break.
Albion had created a lot of chances in the first 40 minutes, with Bowen and Elder causing Leeds lots of problems, but second half James Lowe’s team sealed the game, although with 12 minutes to go the visitors were only six points down.
Holmes added a second try for the home team on 45 minutes, which Lozowski converted, while Cusack was still off the field.
When he was back on, Cusack reduced the gap to 27-21 with a penalty, but Leeds made the game safe when centre Oli Goss scored a converted try in the 68th minute.
After that it all went wrong for Albion, who lost Davy McGregor with a suspected dislocated shoulder after they had used all the replacements. Shanahan was then yellow carded for kicking the ball away before the referee awarded Leeds a penalty try with the last move of the match.
Albion now have to prepare for another trip to Leeds next Sunday in the Championship.
Leeds: 15 Alex Lozowski, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Oli Goss, 12 Rob Vickerman (Christian Georgiou h/t), 11 David Doherty, 10 Jonny Bentley, 9 Craig Hampson, 1 Charlie Beech (Lee Imiolek 58), 2 Joe Graham, 3 Paul Hill (James Currie 54), 4 Harry Casson (Mike Myerscroft 50), 5 Richard Beck, 6 David Sisi (James Doyle 54), 7 Chris Walker, 8 Jarad Williams.
Albion: 15 Chris Elder, 14 Tom Bowen, 13 Ben Woods, 12 Toby Howley-Berridge (James Shanahan 73), 11 Jamie Davies (Jack Arnott 44), 10 Declan Cusack, 9 Paul Rowley (Ruairi Cushion 59), 1 Tom Harrison (Matt Shields 50), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother (David Morton 50), 4 Brett Beukeboom, 5 Ien Ascroft-Leigh (Harrison Tovey 59), 6 Sean-Michael Stephen, 7 Eoghan Grace (Davy McGregor 59), 8 Rhys Oakley (capt).
Referee: Lloyd Linton
SCORERS: Leeds: Tries: Holmes 2, Doherty, Lozowski, Goss; Cons: Lozowski 3 Pens: Lozowski
Albion: Tries: Bowen; Elder; Cons: Cusack; Pens: Cusack 3
CARDS: Leeds: Beck (yellow 28); Albion: Cusack (Yellow 40+1), Shanahan (80+5)
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