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20 August 2018

Sheffield Eagles all but secured their future in the Championship with a hard fought second half performance as the Lions are staring relegation in the face.

Stuart Littler’s side conceded 22-points in the second half on their return to Heywood Road for the first time in over a month as the fight for Championship status continues. 

The Lions took an early lead when Josh Woods floated a high kick towards the left wing and Joe Brown jumped the highest against Ben Blackmore to catch the ball and score on the left with Rob Fairclough adding the conversion from near the touchline. The same player almost got Brown in for his second three minutes later an Eagles hand came to the rescue to knock the ball down.

Eagles hit back on eighteen minutes when the Lions lost the ball in their own twenty and Menzie Yere managed to scramble over in the left corner but Corey Aston was off target from the touchline. Paddy Burns then went close for the visitors but there was a knock on in the build up and just after this they lost Corey Makelim with what looked like a serious arm injury which he picked up in a tackle.

Eagles had a further chance six minutes from the break when Paddy Burns went over but was pulled back for a forward pass and then the Lions had some pressure on the Eagles line with firstly Woods held up and from the play the ball a nice little short kick from Fairclough bounced back off Oscar Thomas and the standoff scored on the right and added the conversion points. The Saints loanee extended the home side’s advantage in the final thirty seconds of the half, as Thomas was sent to the sin bin for holding down on Mike Butt and Fairclough slotted the penalty to give the Lions a ten point lead at the break.

Eagles started the better in the second half and Ben Blackmore was held up on the fifth tackle and then they forced a goal line drop out on the last and it paid off nicely for them as the Lions defence did not scramble and Simon Brown found a big gap on the left to score and add the conversion points to bring them within four. Brown levelled the scores on fifty-six minutes when some poor defence allowed him to cross on the left but this time he could not convert.

The Lions then had four sets of pressure on the Eagles line and eventually the defence cracked when a good passing movement saw Butt score tight in the right corner but Fairclough was just wide with the conversion attempt.

The Eagles, although out on their feet, managed to find some strength to finish the game more strongly than the Lions and James Bentley scored the next try after a nice floated kick from Brown landed just right for him and Brown converted via the crossbar and with seven minutes left Jon Magrin made the game safe when he knocked two Lions defenders out of the way to score by the posts and Brown converted to send the small and noisy band of Eagles fans home happy.

Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road.



LIONS: 7.Jack Hansen, 5.Mike Butt, 11.Rhodri Lloyd, 4.George Tyson, 32.Joe Brown, 30.Rob Fairclough, 31.Josh Woods, 8.Andy Bracek, 9.Luke Waterworth, 15.Ben Austin, 10.Andy Thornley, 17.Kyle Shelford, 14.Hayden Hansen. SUBS: 33.Josh Ganson, 21.Chris Worrall, 34.Paddy Jones, 24.Aaron Hall.

Tries: Brown (12), Fairclough (38), Brown (64)

Goals: Fairclough 3/4

EAGLES: 29.Corey Makelim, 6.Oscar Thomas, 3.Menzie Yere, 4.Josh Toole, 5.Ben Blackmore, 19.Simon Brown, 23.Cory Aston, 8.Mark Offerdahl, 14.Greg Burns, 12.Shaun Pick, 13.Matt James, 26.James Bentley, 9.Matt Fozzard. SUBS: 22.Pat Burns, 15.Ollie Davies, 18.Michael Weldon, 10.John Magrin.

Tries: Yere (18), Brown (46,56), Bentley (70), Magrin (73).

Goals: Brown 3/4, Aston 0/1

Sin Bin: Thomas (39) Holding down.

Referee: Matt Rossleigh     Pens: 5-4     HT: 14-4     ATT: 420


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