Win slips away from Stags

Stevenage Town 12 Chingford 12 Stags will be rueing their failure to close down this game and secure their third league win of the season. With just a few minutes remaining, Town held a 12-9 lead and were camped in the Chingford 22. The home side needed t

Stevenage Town 12 Chingford 12

Stags will be rueing their failure to close down this game and secure their third league win of the season.

With just a few minutes remaining, Town held a 12-9 lead and were camped in the Chingford 22.

The home side needed to retain possession and wind down the clock but instead they lost the ball, lost ground and gave away a penalty from which Chingford levelled the score.


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One point was little reward for a performance that saw Stags outscore their opponents by two tries to nil and for all their energy and slick running, Chingford had only one period of sustained pressure on the Town line and rarely looked like scoring a try.

Chingford did, however, make maximum use of the penalties awarded to them with fly-half Bond kicking all three attempts and adding a further three points from a drop goal as he kept his side in the game.

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Stevenage were by some distance on the wrong end of the penalty count and again had two men sent to the sin bin. This is a continuing trend that must be a cause of concern for Town.

Chingford dominated the early exchanges as they made use of a series of penalties and gradually gained ground from the resulting lineouts. Stevenage's first sin bin came as early as the eighth minute, with hooker Tavita Faamausili the perpetrator. Shortly afterwards, Bond kicked Chingford into the lead with the first of his penalties.

Stevenage gradually took control of the forward battle but were unable to make maximum use of the possession as they were continually penalised by the referee and were also guilty of a number of handling errors.

Chingford looked impressive in possession but they were restricted by good defence from Stevenage, especially centres Peter Smith and Nick Lacey and the back row of Phil Pearson, Jack Golds and Gareth Roberts and they were unable to make any significant ground.

Even the enforced replacement after 29 minutes of flanker Golds with Alex Willcox, who usually plays in the centre, had no effect on proceedings as Willcox adjusted well to his new position.

This resulted in something of a stalemate until just before the half-time whistle, when Ian Crompton playing at scrum-half made a decisive break from inside his own half, which led to the first of three penalties on the Chingford five metre line, with Town opting for the scrum each time.

It was almost inevitable that either Stevenage would score or the referee would award a penalty try and flanker Pearson scored the try, which gave the home side a half-time lead of 5-3.

The second half followed the pattern of the first. Town almost extended their lead when full-back Gareth Lewis kicked through but he put too much on the final kick and the ball went dead before he was able to touch it down.

Chingford regained the lead with a second Bond penalty in the 55th minute when Stevenage failed to deal with a high kick ahead and he extended the lead 10 minutes later with an excellent drop goal from 30m.

It did not take Stevenage long to regain the lead and in the 69th minute, Faamausili scored his third try of the season when he completed a move from the front of a lineout. Kyle Lemon converted the try from wide out on the touchline.

Stags looked to be in control and heading for victory, despite Adam Amos being sent to the sin bin with six minutes to go. Sadly in was not to be as Chingford equalled the score with Bond's final penalty of the afternoon.

Stevenage coach Terry Penny was pleased with his team's overall performance, which he described as "solid" and certainly an improvement on the previous week.

Other scores: Stevenage Town II 27 Old Ashmolean II 22; Harpenden III 35 Stevenage Town III 14; Mill Hill II 34 Stevenage Town IV 24.

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