The Lions tame Tigers with a stunning comeback

Lions players celebrate their win over Sheffield Tigers. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Lions players celebrate their win over Sheffield Tigers. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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Peterborough Lions staged a quite remarkable comeback to record a rare National League Two North win this afternoon (December 8).

They were at home to Sheffield Tigers and scored three late tries to pinch a 28-27 bonus-point victory - only their third win of the season.

Lions players applaud Sheffield Tigers off the pitch. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Lions players applaud Sheffield Tigers off the pitch. Picture: Mick Sutterby

With an hour gone the Lions looked dead and buried. They’d been outplayed by a Sheffield side full of running and trailed 27-7.

But they dug deep and their hard-grafting forwards powered the struggling city side back into the game for a shock success that moves them to within a point of Macclesfield.

“What a way to end our home fixtures for 2018,” enthused Lions chairman Andy Moore. “At last we’ve given our supporters something to cheer.

“This Lions side never knows when its beaten. We were a long way behind today but we never let our heads drop. We train hard week in, week out and we’re as fit as fiddles. And that’s paid off today. The lads deserved that win.

Jack Lewis scores the winning try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Jack Lewis scores the winning try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“The Lions are not doomed yet. Let’s hope for more of the same next year.

“And let’s hope we’ve got a few more players available then as well. We only had 20 fit players for today’s game. We had 15 either injured or unavailable. So that makes today’s win even more incredible.

“Great stuff! They’ve given their chairman a fantastic Christmas present.”

Nobody saw the win coming based on the first-half proceedings.

Dean Elmore on the attack for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Dean Elmore on the attack for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Sheffield dominated from the word go with a slick passing game played at a high tempo. The Lions were chasing shadows and 19-7 at the turnaround to Sheffield was a fair reflection of play.

The Lions score, which arrived on 22 minutes from their first foray into the visitors’ 22, came from winger Allen Carr, who crossed for a try after Tom Lewis had won a lineout and the forwards had made 30 yards from a rolling maul. Debutant Matt McKelvey, a new recruit from Loughborough University, and Shaquille Meyers were both held up a yard short before the ball was shipped out to Carr for a touchdown in the corner.

Sheffield maintained the upperhand for the first 10 minutes of the second half and added a penalty and a try to their tally to make it 27-7 with 62 minutes gone.

Five minutes later and the Lions fightback had started. This time Tom Gulland won a lineout and drives by Aki Lea, Charley Robinson and Josh Waller put them to within a yard of the try-line. And from there Tom Lewis launched himself over the line. Ben Young, who also converted Carr’s first-half try, added the extras.

The score instilled new energy into the Lions and, inspired as well by the enthusiasm of veteran substitute Lea, they began to win far more possession.

That led to a third try, again scored by Tom Lewis after a thrusting burst from a lineout by Lea. Young’s conversion made it 27-21 and the Lions’ tails were well and truly up.

And in the nick of time they crossed for a fourth try under the posts. Jack Lewis, Tom’s brother, got this one after a telling 30-yard break by Suva Ma’asi and some smart thinking by Tom Dougherty.

And then Young kept his cool to slot the conversion to win the match and spark wild celebrations on and off the pitch.

Lions: Josh Waller, Charley Robinson, Joe Lee, Tom Lewis, Marius Andrijauskas, Matt McKelvey, Tom Gulland, Conor Gracey, Franco Perticaro, Nico Defeo, Allen Carr, Suva Ma’asi. Shaquille Meyers, Dean Elmore, Ben Young. Subs: Jack Lewis, Alex Hales, Aki Lea, Tom Dougherty, Will Moore.