Rugby League Report: Oldham 21 Sheffield Eagles 20

Sheffield Eagles' Mark Mexico
Sheffield Eagles' Mark Mexico

A late drop goal consigned Sheffield Eagles to defeat after a narrow 21-20 loss at Oldham.

The Eagles drew level at 20 points apiece late in proceedings, but surrendered a point at Bower Fold after Mark Mexico’s spill gave the hosts position and Lewis Palfrey slotted the one pointer to give the Roughyeds maximum points.

The defeat means that Mark Aston’s side missed the opportunity to build on last weekend’s stunning victory over Bradford, as the Eagles continue to show more inconsistencies ahead of their Challenge Cup clash with Wakefield on Friday night.

In a tight game the Eagles made the first breakthrough after eight minutes. Rhys Jacks’ kick on the last was picked up by Matty Fozard and the former St. Helens man grounded for the opening try. Corey Aston kicked the extras.

With the both defences on top, clear openings were at a premium. The Eagles second try on 27 minutes again came from a kick on the last, this time Aston’s grubber was seized upon by Menzie Yere who grounded under pressure. Aston converted.

The Eagles were dealt a blow just before the interval as Oldham hit back. Aston’s kick was straight into the grasp of a grateful Liam Johnson who sprinted 80 metres to score. Palfrey added the two.

In the second half the home side showed the greater desire and immediately put Aston’s side on the back foot.

On 48 minutes Michael Ward spinned away from the tackle to score Oldham’s second try, and the trusty Palfrey again slotted the conversion.

Worse was to follow for the Eagles as the hosts scored a third try in similar circumstances. This time Kenny Hughes broke from dummy half before spinning over the whitewash to score, and Palfrey added the two.

The Eagles fought their way back into the contest with Fozard’s second try, as he threw the dummy before scrambling over the line to score, but Aston missed the conversion.

Inside the final 10 minutes, Palfrey slotted a penalty to pull the Roughyeds further clear, before Aston’s side drew level with five minutes remaining. Matt James barged his way across the line to score, but crucially Aston missed the conversion as the game remained level at 20-20.

The visitors made another crucial error when Mexico spilled the ball in the tackle, giving possession back to Oldham. Palfrey got himself in position to coolly nail the one pointer for victory, but from the restart the Eagles passed up the opportunity of a drop goal, instead kicking on the last which the hosts successfully repelled.

Oldham: Lepori, Clay, Gee, Johnson, Chisholm; Palfrey, Roper; Joy, Owen, Dickinson; Thompson, Middlehurst; Hope. Interchange: Burke, Ward, Hughes, Spencer.

Scorers: Tries: Johnson (38), Ward (48), Hughes (50) Goals: Palfrey 4/4 Drop Goals: Palfrey 1/1

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Worrincy, Yere, Tyson, Millar; Aston, Jacks; Thorpe, Carlile, Neal; James, Straugheir; Fozard. Interchange: Minchella, Blagbrough, Knowles, Mexico.

Scorers: Tries: Fozard (8, 59), Yere (27), James (75) Goals: Aston 2/4

Referee: Jonathan Roberts

Attendance: 724