CINDERFORD 22 PLYMOUTH ALBION 34
PLYMOUTH Albion continued their winning run at Dockham Road on Saturday but they were given a mighty scare by bottom side Cinderford.
Graham Dawe’s side looked to cruising to victory when they led 34-10 after 52 minutes in the Forest of Dean thanks to touch-downs by Herbie Stupple, Ed Holmes, Billy Searle and a penalty try.
But a game, which saw picky referee Ben Blain issue four yellow cards, then turned with Cinderford dominating the final 25 minutes where they scored two tries and could easily have had more.
Albion, though, dug deep in the final few minutes, especially after having Dan Collier sin-binned, to keep them out and return home with a full five points that keeps them in fourth place having won 10 of their last 11 matches.
Plymouth were missing influential prop Christian Judge due to illness. That meant a first start of 2016 for Dan Pullinger.
Cinderford included former Albion lock Ed King in their starting line-up.
Albion made a great start. From kick-off they attacked and got a penalty. They went for the corner. Cinderford illegally stopped the initial drive but the referee played advantage and from it Stupple powered over for his 10th try of the season, which Shepherd converted.
The visitors nearly added a second try on seven minutes. Albion got a free-kick at a scrum and Searle put in a great cross-field kick that Matt Shepherd gathered but he just put a foot into touch as he broke down the left wing.
That was a let off for Cinderford but it was not long before the second try did come. Albion got a penalty and went for the corner. The drive was stopped illegally and the home side had lock Roger Birkin sin-binned. Albion opted for a scrum at the penalty. Twice the referee penalised Cinderford before finally awarding the penalty try with Albion pushing them back on each occasion. Shepherd added the simple conversion.
The Forest of Dean team got their first points on the board in the 16th minute when Tiff Eden kicked a penalty.
But almost straight away that was wiped out when Shepherd put one over at the other end before he added another nine minutes later.
Cinderford had not really been in the game but they got a try on 34 minutes. They got a penalty and went for the corner and prop Derrick Appiah got the ball down and Eden converted to make it 20-10.
The home side should have scored a second straight after. Albion lost a lineout on their own line and Cinderford were inches away from crossing the whitewash. They then went wide and Sam Hacks broke through and looked certain to score but somehow Albion got back and stopped him and the hosts knocked on trying to offload.
And almost immediately Albion made them pay with a length of the field try. Ford gathered a high kick and avoided the Cinderford chases before kicking into space. Cameron Setter read it well and managed to kick the ball forward again. This time Marc Koteczky got there and gathered it before visitors went wide with Rupert Freestone putting Holmes in to score his second try for the club.
Shepherd converted to give Albion a 27-10 lead at half-time.
The second half started quietly but came to life when Billy Searle intercepted a pass by his opposite number Callum Sheedy to run in and score under the posts for Dawe’s side. Shepherd added the simple conversion.
Albion then made a great break from the restart with Nile Dacres. He fed half-time replacement Gregory Sebastien, who was stopped by a dangerous tackle by Cinderford’s Adam Balding, who was sin-binned.
But Plymouth then found themselves down to 14 men when Freestone was yellow carded on 60 minutes for a professional foul and straight away Cinderford added a second try through hooker Tom Bozzard.
The home side were much better second half and they scored a third try on 67 minutes when Bozzard went over again from another drive. Eden converted to make it 34-22.
Albion totally lost their way and they were lucky not to concede again five minutes later but they somehow stopped Cinderford a metre away.
The home team continued to press and Albion had Dan Collier sin-binned on 74 minutes for pulling down a maul. Albion managed to survive two more penalties on the line and some good home pressure to deny Cinderford any points.
Cinderford: M Wilcox (capt), H Yorke, S Hanks, T Eden, J Adams, C Sheedy, A Frame (D Pointon 57), D Appiah, T Bozzard (S Baker 78), E Booley, R Birkin, E King, A Balding (M Brown 26-48), G Mills, M Lane. Reps not used: D Keat, S Morse.
Albion: M Shepherd, E Ford, J Murphy (capt) M Koteczky, H Cully (E Bale 57, Setter 73), B Searle, C Setter (T Bedford 67), O Dawe, R Freestone, D Pullinger, D Collier, E Holmes (G Sebastien h/t), N Diles, S Matavesi, H Stupple. Reps not used: D Brooker, A Chesters.
Referee: B Blain (RFU).
Scorers: Cinderford: Tries: Bozzard 2, Appiah; Cons: Eden 2; Pen: Eden
Albion: Tries: Stupple, penalty, Holmes, Searle; Con: Shepherd 4; Pens: Shepherd 2
Yellow Cards: Cinderford: Birkin, Balding; Albion: Freestone, Collier