Peterborough Lions kept their English Clubs Championship promotion push going at Bretton this afternoon (March 10) but they were lucky winners.
They beat Scunthorpe 21-17 at Solstice Park in a tense Midlands Premiership clash between two sides boasting long winning records.
Scunthorpe came into battle with 11 wins on the spin to their name while the Lions had won their last eight. Something had to give today and it was the visitors who came unstuck.
Yet most onlookers agreed it was Scunthorpe who were the better side and the Lions got lucky.
Scunthorpe shaded the first half and then totally dominated the second period yet somehow it was the Lions who emerged victorious against their bogey side. Not since 2014 had the Lions won the fixture.
And their triumph today, even though perhaps not totally deserved, keeps them in second place in the table and on course to clinch runners-up spot and a promotion play-off place.
Delighted Lions chairman Andy Moore said: “I don’t know how we did it but we’ve done it again! We are beginning to look like contenders for National League Two. We’re creeping there.
“It was hard work today but fair play to the lads, they turned it in to get a result against a very good side, probably the best we’ve seen here this season.
“They were arguably better than us on the day yet we’ve got the result. All good teams have a bit of luck sometimes and I suppose we got some today.”
The Lions came flying out of the blocks and after a bright opening, in which lively number eight Tom Gulland created havoc in the Scunthorpe defence, they scored their first try on nine minutes through second row Sioki Vaha Taufu’i which was converted by Nico Defeo.
Scunthorpe came straight back to level at 7-7 and then on 26 minutes went 14-7 up when a chip into space bounced kindly for their centre to run in under the posts.
Lions skipper Chris Humphrey was sin-binned shortly after but with half-time approaching Lions grabbed an equalising try when hooker Niko Mao burrowed his way over after Gulland won lineout possession at the tail. Defeo converted and it was all square at 14-14 at the turnaround.
Scunthorpe, who varied their attacks at high speed from all areas, ruled the roost in the second half and spent 90 per cent of it camped within striking distance of the Lions try-line.
Yer for all their possession and territorial advantage they could only kick one penalty.
The Lions on the other hand had just one foray into the Scunthorpe half - on 66 minutes - and scored from it.
Gullands broke off the back of a scrum on the halfway line, Semisi Tei carried the move on and Jon Hill twice showed nice touches before unleashing winger Kaz Henderson on a burst to the line. Defeo added the extras again.
For the last 10 minutes - and with the Lions down to 13 men following the sin-binning of Gullands and Ashley Hill - Scunthorpe battered the Lions try-line. But brilliant defence won the day and the Lions could at last celebrate a win over their big rivals.
Lions: Josh Waller, Niko Mao, Chris Cutts, Sioki Vaha Taufu’i, Tom Lewis, Chris Humphrey, Conor Gracey, Tom Gulland, Tom Dougherty, Dan Malem, Kaz Henderson, Nico Defeo, Rory White, Ashley Hill, Semisi Tei. Subs: Tom Jones, Jack Lewis, Jon Hill.