Winning streak comes to an end
Report by Sports Reporter
Mansfield’s run of four games unbeaten came to an abrupt and decisive end on Saturday as a determined and rejuvenated Birstall put in a fine performance to take the spoils.
Head Coach Wayne Robinson was stoic, “Birstall were strong but we didn’t play as well as we have in recent weeks and we failed to do the simple things well today”.
That was indeed an issue for the visitors as throughout the game there was evidence of them over complicating things and under pressure the were unable to execute them well enough.
For their part the home side are coming off the back of a poor start to the season but a change of coach and seemingly change of attitude has transformed them into a formidable team having beaten top of the league Long Eaton last week. Their scrum went well, as did Mansfield’s for the most part, but they were also able to steal lineout ball from the visitors at crucial times.
Birstall opened the scoring with a penalty after five minutes and then a try seven minutes later. Although Mansfield were adept at the turnover and secured good possession they could not stop two more tries being score before the break and the half time score read 22-0.
With ten minutes played in the second half Mansfield struck back with a try of their own through Flanker Phil Pogmore, who had an outstanding game making himself a nuisance to the opposition at every opportunity.
Carrying on where he left off, Pogmore struck again for his brace of tries just 12 minutes later and the blue & whites had their second score bringing the tally to 22-10.
It looked as though Mansfield were back in the game but Birstall kept doing their drills well and despite another standout performance from feloow Flanker Emmanuel Ogunode, they couldn’t stop three more second half tries being scored. The best of which came from a Crossfield kick which was gathered by the Winger resulting in a try under the posts.
Birstall were good value for their win, despite one or ‘celebrations’ in need of attention, but they were impressive nonetheless. However, with a never say die attitude Mansfield did have the last word. They secured the ball in midfield and it flitted out to Joe Ducker who burst through two tackles to cross the line for a try of his own bringing the game to an end.
Next week, Mansfield travel to Ashby for the rescheduled game that was postponed in October and the kick-off is 3pm. You can follow the action on Twitter @MansfieldRugby.