Despite having a man sent off after 20 minutes and playing the final five minutes with 13 man after a second red card, Lions ripped up the form book with 21-20 win over a side who had won their previous five league games. The history books remain unchanged though as Lions have won all five competitive encounters between the arch rivals.
Manning said: “Lions deserved the win and we can have no complaints. We had many opportunities to score and win, but our decision-making and execution was very poor all game. Lions’ experienced pack dominated the set piece and at this level you can’t expect to win if you can’t win your own ball.”
Borough scored first through a Byron Van Uden penalty, but Lions hit right back immediately with tries from skipper Chris Diamond and Matthew Worrall-Clare, both of which were converted, to take a 14-3 lead.
With Borough’s scrum and lineout misfiring the homeside couldn’t make use of the many opportunities that were presented to them. However from a turnover Rob Jacobs squeezed over to score a try which Van Uden convered. A Van Uden penalty dragged Borough back to 14-13 at half-time and a full recovery looked likely as Lions had lost Weir Filikitonga to a red card because of a nose-breaking, reckless high tackle midway through the half.
But it was Lions who started the second-half the stronger and they were awarded a penalty try to scoot 21-13 clear.
Borough threw everything at Lions, but the depleted visitors defended superbly to hold firm. Even a second yellow card for Worrell-Clare in a case of mistaken identity late on couldn’t stop them.
Borough had three clear cut chances to score, but were let down by a wrong decision not to pass to a man in space.
James Stuffins did cross in the 78th minute on the left hand side, and with Van Uden adding a quick conversion the hosts were back to within a point.
Borough then had one more chance to steal the win, but another poor decision - this time a risky offload which sent the ball spinning forwards - ended a physical game in Lions’ favour.