London Scottish 38 – Plymouth Albion 27
Saturday 8th February 2014
After producing a superb 80 minute performance against London Welsh the previous week, Plymouth Albion slipped back to their old ways by only playing to their full potential for 40 minutes at the Richmond Athletic Ground.
Albion weren’t at the races for the first thirty minutes as London Scottish established a 19-0 lead.
For the last 10 minutes of the first half and the first 30 minutes of the second half Albion played some great rugby running in 27 unanswered points.
Not for the first time this season Albion were unable to close out the game as Scottish dominated the last ten minutes, a period in which skipper Rhys Oakley and prop Lloyd Fairbrother were both yellow carded.
Albion did take home the try scoring bonus point but it was very nearly the full five.
A clearly disappointed Albion head coach James Shanahan said, “After 30 minutes I was ready to get in my car and go home. Everything that was good against London Welsh was bad today but credit must go to the guys who played brilliantly either side of half time to get us into the lead.
“At the end our set piece, that had been under pressure most of the game, went to pot and that aspect of our game needs to be addressed urgently.
“Much of the credit for getting us back into the game must go to centres Toby Howley-Berridge and Heath Stevens, who were outstanding.”
Albion made just one change from the side that produced a superb performance London Welsh 36-15.
Irishman Ben Woods picked up a shoulder injury against Welsh and Lewis Warner, who replaced last weekend him started, on the left wing.
Albion originally made one adjustment to their bench with the addition of the experienced Pale Nonu but were forced into a late change when Gareth Evans dropped out through injury and he was replaced by Ben Rogers.
London Scottish included ex Albion men Tyler Hotson and James Love in their starting line up.
After both sides turned down kicks at goal and then lost the resultant attacking line outs, it was Scottish who opened the scoring in the 11th minute.
When Albion were penalised at a scrum, Scottish took a quick tap penalty and the ball was put inside to skipper Mark Bright who scored the opening try which Love converted.
Albion had a chance to open their account when Scottish were penalised at the restart but fly half Declan Cusack was wide with the 30 metre penalty.
Midway through the first half, with the referee playing advantage, Scottish added a second try when good handling put full back Jim Thompson in under the posts with Love again adding the extras.
Things got worse for Albion when, after Scottish took a strike against the head, Bright picked up and strolled over for his second of the game.
Albion gradually worked their way back into the match and the visitors opened their account when centre Heath Stevens found space near the left touchline and crossed in the corner for a try Cusack was unable to convert.
In first half stoppage time Albion added a second try when Cusack put through a grubber kick that was seized on by full back Dan Mugford.
Cusack converted with a fine kick from wide out, which sent Scottish into the interval leading 19-12.
Albion brought on Ben Rogers for Martin Rice at half time and at his first scrum Rogers was penalised for going down but Love missed the resultant penalty.
The visitors reduced the deficit to two points when a long pass from Sean-Michael Stephen put Warner over for a try with Cusack’s conversion hitting an upright.
When Scottish were pulled up for preventing release in front of their posts Cusack put Albion ahead for the first time in the game with the simple penalty.
Albion got the bonus point try when flanker Rob Langley seized on a Scottish mistake.
Cusack added the conversion which put Albion two scores clear.
From that point it was all Scottish, who got five points back when centre Mike Donegahan crossed before Albion went down to 14 with Oakley carded for a professional foul.
Scottish went for the kill and regained the lead when referee Proctor awarded the home side a penalty try, which Love converted.
Albion then went down to 13 when Fairbrother was sin binned for a late tackle.
At that point deep in injury time Albion had two bonus points in the bag but that went down to one when the Championship’s top try scorer Miles Mantella got his 14th of the season which Love converted.
London Scottish: J Thompson, J Love, M Doneghan, PJ Gidlow (A Reay 65), M Mantella, D Newton (L Millar 57), J Pasqualin, E Fry (M Irish 52), A Kwasnicki, T Francis, T Hotson (P Spivey 54), D Lyons, N Best, C Pennycook, M Bright capt reps not used T Dunn, J Trayfoot, P Homan
Tries: Bright 2, Thompson, Doneghan, Penalty try, Mantella
Cons: Love 4
Plymouth Albion: D Mugford, T Bowen, T Howley-Berridge, H Stevens, L Warner (C Elder 67), D Cusack, P Rowley (R Cushion 67), M Rice (B Rogers 40 T Harrison 55)), D McGregor, L Fairbrother, B Beukeboom, R Oakley capt, R Langley, S Matavesi, S-M Stephen (I Ascroft-Leigh 52) reps not used D Morton, P Nonu
Tries: Stevens, Mugford, Warner, Langley
Cons: Cusack 2
Yellow cards Oakley, Fairbrother
Referee: David Proctor (RFU)