Rugby: Fight-back cold comfort as Longton pay for sins
LONGTON were left seeing red after having two players sent off during their 48-15 home defeat by National Three League Midlands leaders Sutton Coldfield.
Number eight Joel Booth and prop Matt Davies were dismissed during a fractious first half in which the visitors established a 38-3 advantage to kill off Longton's hopes of a third successive win.
Slick handling and excellent support play saw Sutton Coldfield score three tries in the opening 15 minutes.
A Chris Buck penalty was all Longton had to show for their early efforts, and any hopes of mounting a recovery from 17-3 adrift were all but ended when Booth was red-carded for an alleged head-butt.
The visitors quickly made the most of their numerical advantage with a fourth score, before a flowing move allowed them to cross for a fifth try of the afternoon.
Davies joined Booth in taking an early shower following an altercation with a Sutton Coldfield rival, and to rub salt into the wounds, the front-runners launched a late first-half counter-attack to increase their interval advantage.
To their credit, the remaining 13 Longton players produced a battling second-half performance to restore some pride.
The half was only four minutes old when strong running from Hendry Vaka and Luke Fowles created a chance for Kieron Healey to cross over.
Longton were soon celebrating their second try of the afternoon when powerful Fijian Vaka brushed aside several tackles to dive over himself.
But that was as good as it got for the hosts, with Sutton Coldfield adding a couple more scores in the closing stages to rubber-stamp their sixth successive victory.
SANDBACH leapfrogged Longton into fourth place following their 38-22 home victory over South Leicester.
The visitors' bulky pack met their match in Sandbach's well-drilled unit, although South Leicester did take the lead thanks to a penalty try.
But a Benny Elliot score and the trusty boot of Will Cargill turned the tables heading into half-time – and Sandbach roared out of the blocks at the start of the second 40.
In a blistering 25-minute spell they ran in four unanswered tries to settle the destination of the spoils.
Matt Pollen benefited from fine forward play to capitalise on recycled ball to score, before a drive was rounded off by Jack Seddon's lunge for the line.
A penalty try increased Sandbach's lead, and their scoring run was rounded off by Pollen applying the finishing touch to a well-worked move.
South Leicester responded with a couple of tries, but an Elliot penalty and a last-minute drop goal applied the gloss to a fine afternoon's work.
LINLEY and Kidsgrove produced their best performance of the season in their 21-17 defeat at South Lancs/Cheshire Three high-fliers Capenhurst.
Sam Dumigan and Ashley Green crashed over in the first period to put Linley 10-7 in front at the break.
A Matt Swingewood try in the second half was just reward for Linley's efforts, but a strong Capenhurst revival saw them edge to victory.
To add insult to injury, defeat saw Linley slip to bottom after being deducted five points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Prenton last month.
New South Lancs/Cheshire Three leaders TRENTHAM ran out 49-7 victors over Liverpool University, while CONGLETON thumped Knutsford 41-5.
Elsewhere, CREWE and NANTWICH had a day to forget in South Lancs/Cheshire One when they suffered a 52-3 home defeat by Broughton Park.