Plymouth Albion 14 Leeds Carnegie 15
Saturday 4th January 2014
So close yet so far. Plymouth Albion came within inches of winning their first Championship game at Brickfields this season but it wasn’t to be.
After leading the match for 70 minutes, Albion found themselves trailing 14-15 deep in stoppage time.
Albion worked fly half Declan Cusack into a position to attempt what would have been a match winning drop goal but his effort dropped just under the crossbar.
Contrast this to the luck of Leeds fly half Glyn Hughes who saw his long range penalty kick in the 51st minute hit the top of the crossbar before dropping over.
Although Albion were beaten by Leeds they put in a much improved performance against one of the sides who will be pushing for promotion at the end of the season.
The losing league run at home is becoming a bit of a monkey around Albion’s neck but on this showing it won’t be long before that elusive first win is in the bank.
Psychologically this defeat will be difficult for Albion to take but skipper Rhys Oakley was in a positive frame of mind after the game.
Oakley playing against one of his former clubs said, “We are really disappointed to lose such a close fought game but we have taken on one of the best teams in the league and made them fight all the way for a one point win.
“We had a chance to win it at the end with the drop goal but although we have lost today I feel we have taken a step in the right direction. At the moment luck doesn’t seem to be going our way,”
Albion made five changes, one of them positional, from the side beaten by the Cornish Pirates on Boxing Day.
Chris Elder returned at full back with Ben Woods switching to the wing in place of the injured Jamie Davies.
Cusack reclaimed the fly half slot from Dan Mugford and in the front row Tom Cowan-Dickie made his first start of the season packing down alongside his brother Luke
In the back row Rob Langley came in for the injured Herbie Stupple.
Albion took the lead in the 6th minute when Cusack put over a close range penalty given for offside.
Shortly afterwards Cusack doubled Albion’s lead with a second penalty after the slow starting visitors put hands in a ruck.
On a rare visit to the Albion half of the field, Leeds fly half Glyn Hughes kicked a 40 metre penalty after the home side dropped a scrum.
Albion came close to scoring the opening try but Woods, who had a clear run to the try line, was pulled back when Elder’s pass to him was judged to be forward.
Albion led 9-3 at half time and turned around with the breeze behind them.
Leeds played much better in the second period and Hughes levelled matters with penalties in the 51st and 59th minutes.
Albion scored what turned out to be the games only try midway through the half when scrum half Ruairi Cushion dummied his way over from a close range scrum.
Cusack crucially missed the touchline conversion before Leeds reduced Albion’s lead to just two points when Hughes made it four from four penalties ten minutes from the end.
Albion then gave away a penalty for offside at a rolling maul and Hughes put Leeds ahead for the first time in the game with the resultant kick.
Albion still fancied their chances of winning the game and Cusack attempted two long range drop goals the second of which so nearly produced the victory this performance deserved.
Plymouth Albion: C Elder, T Bowen, H Stevens, T Howley-Berridge, B Woods, D Cusack, R Cushion (P Rowley 72), T Cowan-Dickie (G Evans 62), L Cowan-Dickie (T Harrison 62), L Fairbrother (D Morton 76), B Beukeboom, R Graham (S Matavesi 65), S-M Stephen, R Langley, R Oakley capt reps not used D Mugford, P Nonu.
Pens: Cusack 3
Leeds Carnegie: S McColl, R Vickermen (J Clarke 51), J Griffin, F Burdon, D Doherty, G Hughes, C Hampson (J Doherty 62), B Harris (L Imiolek 62), P Nilsen capt, J Currie (B Hooper 51), M Smith (H Casson 51), M Myerscough, R Beck, J Doyle, S Jones (C Walker 63) reps not used J Walker
Pens: Hughes 5
Referee: Martin Fox (RFU)