Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Albion produce sensational comeback to claim bonus point win at Fylde


Dan Collier scores a try against Fylde (picture by Paul Thompson/Pinnacle)


PLYMOUTH Albion used their get of jail card at Woodlands on Saturday as they came from 26-10 down to beat Fylde 38-26.

Graham Dawe’s side, who had seen their five-game winning run ended the week before by Hull Ionians, were out-played for nearly 60 minutes.

They struggled to get anything going in snowy and freezing conditions in Lancashire. Their tackling, kicking and game management was poor and even their scrum was not as good as it has been.

Fylde scored four first half tries and looked to be cruising to victory.

But the match changed totally in the final 20 minutes with Albion running in four tries – three in the final seven minutes – to return home with a full five points.

Dan Collier, Herbie Stupple, Nile Dacres, Marc Koteczky and Matt Shepherd all scored tries for the visitors, who have moved up to sixth in National One.

It was a tremendous comeback and showed the spirit that there is within the Plymouth camp this season.

Albion, still without the injured James Penman, Tom Putt and Cameron Thompson, made three changes to their team that had lost against Hull Ionians. Forwards Ed Holmes and Jarrad Hayler were unavailable due to university and work commitments. Their places were taken by Collier and Gregory Sebastien, who was making his first start since October.

The other Plymouth change came in the backs, where captain Jake Murphy returned in place of Seti Raumakita, with Tom Bedford moving from centre to wing to accommodate him.

Fylde were without former Albion scrum-half Greg Nicholls, who was working after his life-saving heroics the week before.

Albion found themselves behind in the eighth minute when home centre Scott Rawlings went over on the left. The prolific Chris Johnson converted to make it 7-0.

The visitors had the chance to cut the gap two minutes later when they were awarded a penalty. Searle went for goal but his kick went well wide.

But on 14 minutes, Albion did draw level with a try by Collier. Bedford caused problems for Fylde with a kick behind the defence. The home side lost the ball and Collier pounced to kick it forward and he won the race for it to score his second try in two games. Searle converted.

Albion, though, were not on level terms for long as six minutes later the impressive Scott Rawlings scored a second try after good play from a line-out 22 metres out. Johnson converted to make it 14-7.

Searle missed a second penalty on 23 minutes for the visitors and Fylde made them pay by going up the other end and scoring a third try through Oli Brennard. The speedy winger beat three Albion players down the right wing before running in under the posts to give Johnson an easy conversion.

Searle did finally kick a penalty on 28 minutes to cut the gap to 11, but it did not stay that way for long with Fylde adding a fourth try.

Albion initially defended well and it looked like the home side had knocked on twice on the left but the referee did not give either and Fylde went right and got a penalty after Ethan Ford was ruled to have deliberately knocked on. He was yellow carded and Fylde scored from the penalty with hooker Alex Loney going over from a line-out move to make it 26-10.

Albion had some good pressure just before half-time but they could not score a timely try.

The visitors brought on Elliot Bale and Seti Raumakita at half-time and they tackled and pressed a lot better.

They had a good chance to score in the 53rd minute from a line-out but Shepherd was just held up on the line.

Albion got a penalty at a scrum five-metres out, which they tried to tap but they knocked on.

But the visitors did get the try they threatened from the scrum. They got a penalty and went for another scrum and from it Stupple powered over and Shepherd converted.

Even at that point, though, with 20 minutes to go it did not look Albion were going to get any more than maybe a bonus point.

Fylde could have put the game beyond them in the 64th minute when Scott Rawlings broke through again but he kicked to the corner for his winger and the ball just went out before it was collected.

And the game changed in the 73rd minute when Searle broke through and kicked forward. Fylde failed to gather and Dacres pounced to score under the posts. Shepherd converted to leave Plymouth just two points behind.

Almost straight from the restart, Albion added a fourth try to go in front for the first time. Collier robbed Fylde of possession in the middle of the field and fed Koteczky, who broke down the right and managed to out-smart a couple of Fylde players to score. Shepherd again converted to make it 31-26.

And Albion sealed the game in the last minute when Bale did well to break before feeding Koteczky, who then put Shepherd into score. He also converted to send the small travelling Albion fans wild.

Fylde: Warren Spragg (Ralph Dowds 75), Anthony Bingham, Chris Briers (capt), Scott Rawlings, Oli Brennard, Chris Johnson, Jordan Dorrington (Ralph Dowds 56-66), Dan Birchall, Alex Loney, Adam Lewis (Tom Lavelle 51), Paul Arnold (Nick Gray 65), Gareth Rawlings (Paul Arnold 78), Mark Goodman (Dom Moon 66), Evan Stewart, Dave Fairbrother.

Albion: Ethan Ford (Billy Searle 65), Tom Bedford, Jake Murphy (capt), Marc Koteczky, Harrison Cully (Seti Raumakita h/t), Billy Searle (Elliot Bale h/t) Matt Shepherd, Ollie Dawe, Rupert Freestone, Christian Judge, Dan Collier, Nile Dacres, Gregory Sebastien (Cameron Setter 62), Sam Matavesi, Herbie Stupple. Reps not used: Dean Brooker, Dan Pullinger.

Referee: Greg MacDonald (RFU).

Scorers: Fylde: S Rawlings 2, Brennand, Loney; Cons: Johnson 3

Albion: Tries: Collier, Stupple, Dacres, Koteczky, Shepherd; Cons: Searle; Shepherd 4; Pen: Searle.

Cards: Fylde: None; Albion: Ford (Yellow)

Attendance: 760

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