Swinton squandered a half-time lead at Craven Park to give Barrow Raiders victory as the Lions’ Championship status still lies in the balance.
Barrow Raiders 34-18 Swinton Lions
The Lions life in the Championship still hangs in the balance because of poor second half performance which cost them the game in the end.
Stuart Littler’s side made a rapid start scoring after just twenty-five seconds, when Rob Fairclough collected the kick off and handed it on to Paul Wood who gave the ball to the supporting Mike Butt to take the tackle on his own thirty. From the play the ball Luke Waterworth scooped up the ball and shot through a gap and was in the clear with Raiders full-back Ryan Fieldhouse ahead of him and with Jack Hansen in support he offloaded the pass and the Lions full-back raced away to score under the posts with Fairclough adding the simple conversion.
In the early stages the Lions were launching attack after attack and some desperate defence from the Raiders were holding them out, but on seven minutes Andy Thornley lost the ball in a tackle and it was picked up by Jamie Dallimore who raced sixty metres to score and convert to level the scores.
Fairclough put the Lions back ahead on fifteen minutes when he converted a thirty metre penalty for holding down but Raiders hit back again twelve minutes later when the Lions lost the ball again and Ryan Burroughs scored on the left with Dallimore again converting.
Josh Woods almost laid on a try for Fairclough with a kick through but they forced the goal line drop out, however they could not capitalise on the kick. The Lions did score again three minutes from the break when Butt charged down a kick in his own half to collect the ball and head for the try line with defenders chasing him. The Lions’ number 5 managed to get away from them all and race over in the right corner with Fairclough adding a great conversion from the touchline to give the Lions a two point lead at the break.
The second half got off to a bad start when George Tyson had ten minutes in the sin-bin after fifty one minutes arguing with referee Liam Moore. The Raiders capitalised on the extra man advantage scoring three tries in six minutes to severely dent the Lions chances of victory when Brett Carter, Arnaud Bartes and Burroughs all scored and Dallimore converted two of them to put them fourteen points ahead.
Ryan Duffy was then sent to the sin-bin for an off the ball shot on Fairclough but the Lions could not capitalise with Waterworth coming close as he tried to score under the posts on sixty-seven minutes but lost the ball as he dived over.
With five minutes left, Martin Aspinwall was later sent to the sin-bin for applying pressure on the neck of Hayden Hansen. From the resulting penalty the Lions put pressure on the line and a kick to the corner on the last tackle was fumbled by Burroughs and Butt picked up the loose ball to dive over for his second try of the afternoon, Fairclough unable convert on this occasion. and
The Raiders rubbed salt in the wounds when Carter went over for his second as the hooter sounded and Dallimore converted to send the large following of Lions fans home bitterly disappointed after such a bright start.