Altrincham Kersal 20 Lymm 21
OFTEN top of the table matches fail to live up to expectation and this tense affair definitely fell into that category. Nail biting and edgy maybe, but the game struggled to get going and Lymm will thank kicker Joe Knowles for his 79th minute penalty that sealed the win.
Lymm are now two points clear at the top of the league but will realise that they will need to find a better balance in their backs if they are to deliver the promotion they are aiming for.
Tom Hughes, returning from Longton, was picked at 13, Tom Baker started at 9, with Chris Griffiths away, and Alex Gluth was at 7, against a former club. Mark Sutton was back after injury. Last wee’s man of the match Jake Ashall was unlucky to find himself benched but Lymm, with such riches available to them, now actively rotate their 25 man squad.
Lymm started brightly. Setting up phase after phase in the home 22 but consistently failed to execute. Handling errors and poor kicking strategies prevented any momentum and it was no surprise when Rogers went through two tackles to score on 16 mins. 5-0.
Both teams seemed nervous and mistakes were numerous. Rogers dropped a simple pass in his own try area allowing Gluth to pounce to equalise. Knowles converted giving Lymm the lead on 21 mins. 5-7
The home team took the lead again on 30 mins. A lovely set piece move releasing their 13 to burst through the defence. Rogers converted. 12-7.
Rogers then notched a penalty on 34 mins, 15-7 and then when he went over, again through wafer thin defence on 40 mins the home team were 20-7 at half time.
Lymm could have been in real trouble at this stage. Jack Warrington was replaced by old timer Broadbent through injury and began to control some set pieces. With slight advantage with the blustery wind and the vocal Hughes at 10 the visitors began to look more like the team that had only lost twice since February.
A driving maul allowed Ollie Higginson to score on 48 mins, 20-12 and then it was the Joe Knowles story. Having struggled largely with kicking this season he notched penalties on 55 and 74 after naive defending from the home team.
Penalties were coming thick and fast as Altrincham tried to slow the ball. Swetman missed by 5 metres from 45 on 76 mins and then Knowles had the chance to secure the victory after extraordinary work by Mark Sutton in gaining a turnover. He succeeded and Lymm took the points.
Kinsey was honest enough. “Our worst performance of the season saw us beat the 2nd team in the league at their ground. A win is a win but hopefully someone soon will get a real hiding”
Tom Hughes was also reflective. “Lymm won’t play as badly again this year so it’s great to still get the points against Altrincham”
Next Saturday Lymm entertain Aspatria .3pm kick off.
Lymm. 15 Knowles 14 J Johnstone, 13 Hughes, 12 Fletcher C,11 Williamson, 10 Swetman, 9 Baker 1,Brown,2 Harrison,3 Warrington (Broadbent 42), 4 Williams ,5 Pickles,6 Higginson,7 Gluth 8 Sutton Reps Kinsey, Ashall