Red card so costly for the brave Lions

Peterborough Lions supporters were left in no doubt . . . the referee robbed them of a result against Hull Ionians this afternoon (January 5).

Saturday, 5th January 2019, 4:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:34 pm
Tom Gulland scores the second Lions try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

The Lions were beaten 25-15 in a top versus bottom National League Two North clash at Solstice Park but felt aggrieved by a controversial refereeing decision which reduced them to 14 men after half-an-hour.

Lions centre Suva Ma’asi, son of coach Vili, was red carded for a high tackle yet a few minutes earlier a Hull player escaped without a caution for a similar offence. Lions fans were incensed by the ruling.

“I’m am absolutely gutted we got nothing from this game,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore. “It was a great effort. We worked so hard leading up to the game and during the match. But we didn’t get the rub of the green where refereeing decisions were concerned. The red card was harsh and there’s no doubt about it, we’d have given them a real run for their money without it.

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Jack Askham scored the first Lions try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“There was no disgrace on our part in losing to a side who were in National League One last season. The scoreline certainly wasn’t a true reflection of the game and we’ve shown that we can compete against the best in the league. Hopefully this performance and some good ones before Christmas as well will prove to be a springboard to better things.”

The Lions didn’t make the best of starts. They were slow to get going and it was 30 minutes before they ventured out of their own half.

By then Hull had forged ahead 17-0 and a heavy defeat appeared to be on the cards for the Bretton boys.

Yet the sending off stirred the Lions into a gutsy fightback.

Kaz Henderson and Nico Defeo combine to stop a Hull player. Picture: Mick Sutterby

With their heckles roused, they finished the half with a spell of intense pressure. And that pressure was rewarded on the stroke of half-time with a try by hooker Jack Askham after great work by Tom Lewis, Tom Gulland and Christian Edbrooke.

Within 10 minutes of the restart the Lions had managed to cut the deficit to 17-12.

After another 10 minutes of bombarding the Hull try-line with every Lions forward being held up just short, Gulland smartly dived over the Hull pack instead of trying to smash through it for a cheeky touchdown which Nico Defeo converted.

Both sides then exchanged penalties - Young kicking one for the Lions from 30 yards - to make it 20-15 to the visitors and the Lions were in possession of a losing bonus point and still threatening to snatch a most unlikely victory.

Yet with just two minutes left, Hull hoofed the ball the length of the pitch to score a try against the run of play and the brave Lions ended up with nothing.

Lions: Josh Waller, Jack Askham, Joe Lee, Christian Edbrooke, Marius Andrijauskas, Tom Lewis, Tom Gulland, Conor Gracey, Franco Perticaro, Nico Defeo, Allen Carr, Suva Ma’asi, Shaquille Meyers, Sonoma Veikune, Kaz Henderson. Subs: Tom Dougherty, Jack Lewis, Dean Elmore, Aki Lea, Ben Young.