Match report: Old Albanian 15 Fylde RFC 16

Fylde in action at Old Albanian
Fylde in action at Old Albanian

Fylde earned their first away win of the season with a gutsy display in St Albans.

OLD ALBANIANS 15

FYLDE RFC 16

Fylde earned their first away win of the season with a gutsy display in St Albans.

A long-range penalty goal in the last-minute by in-form fly-half Greg Smith settled this contest between well-matched sides at the Woollams.

Fylde remain bottom of National One but ending a run of eight straight away defeats will give this young squad confidence they can battle against relegation.

Having won one of their previous four visits to this ground, Fylde gained early control, andas OA conceded penalties the Lancastrians took the lead with Smith’s third-minute penalty. He converted another in the 14th minute for a 6-0 lead.

Old Albanian came back strongly and established an advantage in both possession and territory, halving the deficit with centre Dan Watt’s penalty on 28 minutes.

As Fylde were forced back inside their own half, OA took the upper hand and scored the opening try on 37 minutes.

Scrum-half Jack Daly placed a grubber kick behind the Fylde defence and wing Joe Bridger won the race to score, Watt’s goal making it 10-6.

Fylde wing George Brookes retired with a leg injury and was replaced by debutant Luke Fowden.

There was still time for the hosts to apply more pressure before half-time and Bridger scored his second try.

Watt missed the goal but his side took a healthy 15-6 lead into the break.

Fylde knew they needed to hit back quickly and they did so as centre Chris Briers finished off a fine move.

Smith’s conversion from a difficult angle cut the deficit to two points.

Despite an improved second-half display, Fylde continued to make errors and OA spent an extended period in their half. But the visitors dug in and gained turnover ball to ease the pressure.

Gradually Fylde fought their way upfield in the later stages and won a penalty in the 79th minute.

It was a long kick against the wind but Smith was rewarded for taking it on as the ball fell just over the bar to win the game for Fylde.

Smith was named man of the match after a very heartening return to goal-kicking form.

With four of their next six at home in the run-up to Christmas, Fylde will be looking to build on this victory and climb off the bottom, though the immediate challenge is to be competitive at home to promotion-chasing Blackheath on Saturday.