Mansfield pay the price for damaging first half

A damaging first half cost Mansfield dear as they slumped to a 29-17 defeat against a Birstall side just below them in the National League, Midlands 3 East (North) division table.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 4:09 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 4:13 pm
Action from Mansfield's 29-17 defeat at Birstall on Saturday.

Despite taking the lead after only ten minutes, Mansfield found themselves 22-5 down at the interval and although they fought back well, they ran out of time and remain seventh of 12 in the standings.

Now they must look to eliminate their habit of giving scores away needlessly as they prepare to host high-flying Bakewell Mannerians this Saturday (kick-off 2.15 pm).

Another fine performance by Phil Pogmore saw him emerge from a pile of bodies to give the blue-and-whites that early advantage. But despite a yellow card, Birstall hit back with a penalty and finished the opening period strongly with 19 points in the last ten minutes, including two tries and a penalty try. They would have had even more but for dropping the ball over the line in the final move of the half.

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Doggedly, Mansfield clawed their way back and dominated the first 15 minutes of the second period, with Sam Holmes and his pack driving over the line for a second try. Sadly, the Leicestershire outfit ended any hopes of a comeback by extending their lead to 29-10 with only 20 minutes remaining.

At least Mansfield kept battling, and some fine forward pressure finally told when they were awarded a penalty try to cut the deficit.

Head coach Wayne Robinson said: “We knew our defence needed some work in the second half. We did well to score three tries of our own.”