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Match report: Birmingham Moseley 36 Fylde RFC 21

Connor Wilkinson scored one of Fylde's three tries
Connor Wilkinson scored one of Fylde's three tries

A gutsy second-half display by Fylde saw them score three tries but they were unable to prevent defeat against powerful hosts at Billesley Common.

READ MORE Last match: Fylde 12 Hull Ionians 14
Going 26-0 down in the 48th minute proved too much of a deficit for the Lancastrians to claw back, despite Moseley having been reduced to 14 men in the first half, when centre Tim Molenaar was shown a straight red card.

Fylde held their own in the opening exchanges as both teams struggled for supremacy.

As the big Moseley pack increased their efforts, they broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when blindside flanker Jacques Le Roux smashed his way over the try line following sustained pressure. Fly-half Sam Hollingsworth missed the conversion.

Six minutes late,r Moseley were again near the Fylde line and Le Roux drove over to claim his second try. This time Hollingsworth nailed the conversion for a 12-0 lead.

The next 10 minutes were crucial to the final outcome. Immediately after the Moseley try, home centre Molenaar tipped Nick Ashcroft up in the tackle and the young lock crashed to the ground.

Referee Neil Chivers showed Molenaar a straight red card.

With 50 minutes of the match to go, surely Fylde would be able to exploit their man advantage?

Things looked positive as they kicked a penalty to the corner and set up a powerful driving maul only for it to be held up over the Moseley line. The home team subsequently cleared the danger.

The visitors continued to step up their efforts but were initially struggling to penetrate the durable Moseley defence.

Moseley took advantage of Fylde’s indiscipline to pin them back in their own half.

Fylde scrum-half Alex Dolly was sinbinned and, with both teams at 14 players, Moseley kicked the subsequent penalty for the corner.

As the Moseley pack pressed towards the line, veteran hooker Adam Caves drove over from close range for the try.

Hollingsworth converted and the teams trooped off to the changing rooms at the interval with Moseley holding a 19-0 lead.

Referee Chivers continued to be annoyed by the Lancastrians and on one occasion marched them back 10 metres for back-chat after a penalty decision, then another 10 for a further remark.

The Moseley pressure told as South African flanker Le Roux again demonstrated his power around the fringes of scrummages and lineouts by scoring his hat trick try in the 47th minute. Hollingsworth added the extras for a 26-0 lead to the 14 men.

Fylde then started to exploit their extra space as Moseley began to tire.

In the 57th minute, scrum-half Dolly sniped over for a neat try and half-back partner Greg Smith converted it to get their side on the scoreboard.

As Fylde pressed forward, Moseley centre Ollie Allsopp offended and was yellow- carded.

Now with a two-man advantage and following some fluent attacking, Fylde centre Connor Wilkinson scored his fourth try of the season. Smith converted and the match was up for grabs at 26-14.

Another critical moment followed in the 65th minute, when 13-man Moseley again pressed deep in Fylde territory and fly-half Hollingsworth found space to score their fifth try.

He converted it for a 33-14 lead and this was surely the coup de grâce for the home side.

Despite Fylde’s very difficult season, they’ve never given up the fight easily. In the 69th minute, following a Moseley high tackle, Smith kicked for the corner.

From the subsequent driving maul, replacement hooker Ben Gregory was last man up to claim the try.

Smith kicked a tricky conversion and the deficit was down to 33-21. Once again, the match was not quite dead.

With Moseley back to 14, they had the final say when Hollingsworth kicked the only penalty goal of the match.

Fylde head coach Warren Spragg said: “We were unlucky not to come away with anything. We played the better rugby, especially in the second half, but struggled to defend against their big runners, which led to some soft scores around the breakdown.

“I think our scrum was really competitive and caused them a lot of issues in an area they have consistently dominated this season.

“We were on the wrong side of some strange calls by the officials in this area. Ultimately, if we can reduce our penalty count and unforced handling errors, we will be able to beat anybody in the final run-in.”

Fylde: Carleton, Hadfield, Briers, Wilkinson, Bailey (Fowden 75), Smith, Dolly; Lewis, Loney (Gregory 51), Irving (Pope 51), Ashcroft (Garrod 69), Parkinson, Hopwood (Vernon 58), Burtonwood, Fairbrother.