Brown lands late drop goal for Eagles win: Swinton Lions 18 Sheffield 19
Sheffield Eagles snatched a dramatic late victory after Simon Brown's drop goal two minutes from time secured an 18-19 success against Swinton at Heywood Road.
Chris Hankinson’s late converted try looked to have saved a point for the hosts, but Swinton fluffed the restart giving Brown the platform to bag a priceless win in the battle of the Betfred Championship’s bottom two sides.
The victory, only the Eagles’ second of the campaign, dragged Aston’s side out of the bottom two leaving Swinton still looking for their first win.
Swinton took a slender early lead through a Hankinson penalty, but the Eagles moved clear on 12 minutes. A flowing move from right to left found Ben Blackmore who threw an impressive dummy before sprinting to the line, and Oscar Thomas added the extras from in front of the posts.
The home side put the Eagles under a sustained bout of pressure, but a defence that has shipped points at times this season, this time held firm. First Macani intercepted a grubber kick to deny a try in the corner, then a combination of red and gold shirts held up the imposing Gavin Bennion, whilst Luke Waterworth was also held going for the line.
As the half wore on the Eagles grew in confidence, with Jon Magrin denied a try after a double-movement from close range – one of several missed opportunities.
Just before the break the pressure told as Blackmore intercepted a loose pass to sprint 60 metres to the line, allowing Thomas another simple conversion.
Swinton got the crucial first score after the break with Marcus Webb squeezing in at the corner, and Hankinson converted from the touchline.
The home side looked to have picked up some vital momentum, but the Eagles hit-back when James Bentley provided an incisive break before handing on to Illies Macani to complete a well-worked try. Thomas converted.
Swinton set up a grandstand finish through Craig Mullen’s try going into the final quarter, but Hankinson failed with the conversion.
Inside the final 10 minutes the Eagles came under pressure, and after Thomas missed a drop goal at one end, Swinton piled forward eventually levelling the game when Hankinson crossed and converted his own score.
There was more drama to follow when Brown’s drop goal sealed a dramatic victory for the Eagles.
Swinton: Mullen; Forsyth, Hankinson, Lloyd, Webb; Woods, J. Hansen; Bennion, Waterworth, Bracek; Nicholson, Hope; Thornley. Interchange: Austin, Field, H. Hansen, Shelford.
Scorers: Tries: Webb (48), Mullen (64), Hankinson (74) Goals: Hankinson 3/4
Eagles: Costello; Macani, Bentley, Blackmore, Millar; Thomas, Brown; Offerdahl, Burns, Pick; Ashworth, Lees; Fozard. Interchange: Igbinedion, Garcia, Broadbent, Magrin.
Scorers: Tries: Blackmore (12, 39), Macani (52). Goals: Thomas 3/3 Drop Goal: Thomas 0/1, Brown 1/1
Referee: John McMullen