Wanderers dig deep to Keys at bay
Cross Keys 14
“At one point it looked like lightning was going to strike twice for us as the pressure came on at the end of the game” commented Charlie Johnson, water-boy “It showed lots of guts to hang on and come away with the points”
“Not pretty but we’ll take a win away from home every day of the week” added Martyn Fowler.
On a great but bright afternoon both sides took a little time to get into their stride with memories of the game 3 weeks ago probably fresh in the players minds. Keys mounted the first serious attack when off the top ball at the lineout gave them an attacking option in midfield. Recycling well they moved the ball wide but a little chip over the top was nicely gathered by the Wanderers defence and they cleared. The Wanderers started to get into their stride with centres Josh Male and Cameron Gibbon at the heart of the early attacks but the home side defence was solid and despite good inroads the line was not threatened. After 12 minutes the breakthrough came. A little nudge from a lineout sucked the defence in and when the ball was moved into midfield Male crashed through and despite plenty of tacklers he crashed over besides the posts. Paul Short converted 0-7. The home side responded. Moving the ball well they pressurised the defence and an offside offence allowed Keys to reduce the arrears with a penalty 3-7. The game ebbed and flowed with plenty of enterprise on show but at times execution a little lacking. Another break from Male put the Wanderers in good position and a deliberate knock on gave Short a penalty shot which he took to extend the lead to 3-10. Back came Keys and with the penalty count against the Wanderers mounting they had a period of pressure. Off the top ball at the lineout gave them a chance and moving the ball well they committed the defence to provide an overlap out wide which they took to score an unconverted try 8-10. Both sides continued to create chances between the 10 metre lines but there was little action in either 22 as the half proceeded. A long range penalty allowed the Wanderers to extend the lead as Short added another 3 points 8-13 but Keys ended the half very strongly. The Wanderers defence was once again and a few silly offences kept the pressure on the visitors. A second penalty reduced the arrears to 11-13 and just before the break a third penalty sent the sides into the changing rooms with Keys having nudged ahead 14-13.
“The boys are feeling positive” commented Manager John Lyons as the sides emerged for the second half “We feel that we should be ahead and if we cut out the mistakes we can get the win”
The second half began with both sides once again probing each other out. A clearance downfield by Keys provided the Wanderers with a chance. Jake Beetham fed James Loxton who countered from deep. Scything through the defence he carried well and the visitors were back on the attack. The home side struggled to clear their lines and the Wanderers had a period of pressure in the home side 22. Both forwards and backs carried well and as the defence became more disjointed Beetham stepped the onrushing tacklers and he had the strength to force his way over for the visitors second try. Short converted 14-20. The weather started to deteriorate with a light drizzle and Loxton was again prominent this time in defence as he cleared up several times when Keys were on the attack. The home side had a chance to reduce the deficit but a kick narrowly missed. Both sides started to send for the fresh legs but further scores didn’t materialise. The home sides prospects then took a turn for the worse as a challenge in the air saw their outside half see yellow and the Wanderers took the chance to get back on the attack. Despite several chances they could not provide the killer score and Keys kept themselves in the game. As time started to run out Keys mounted attack after attack. The Wanderers faithful were thinking that “here we go again” having lost the previous match at Pandy Park in the last second but this time the visitors defended with their lives. When the line seemed at their mercy Keys coughed up the ball but when the Wanderers cleared they went straight back on the attack. Wave after wave was repelled and the Wanderers hung on for a valuable away win. Final score 14-20.
Tries: Josh Male, Jake Beetham
Cons: Paul Short (2)
Pens: Paul Short (2)
Wanderers Management man of the match: Anthony Cox
Massiv man of the match: James Loxton