VIDEO: Fylde topple league leaders

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Fylde 25, Doncaster Knights 17

Against a side that boasted players by the name of Bruno, Tyson, Lewis and Lennard, it was Fylde who landed the knockout blow.

Joe Robinson makes a break for Fylde

Joe Robinson makes a break for Fylde

They were the side that punched their weight in this competitive affair, and they outclassed the National League One leaders and runaway promotion favourites, meriting more than the three tries they did score.

Indeed, for most of the contest, it was tough to know which side were the league pacesetters and which were the fourth-placed team as they out-smarted their South Yorkshire rivals in terms of invention, discipline and dogged battling qualities.

Fylde stamped their authority on proceedings early doors and seldom lost their grip, if at all.

Indeed, it could be argued that Fylde should have won by more.

They could have had a penalty try, while spilled passes near the line also restricted their try-tally.

But it would be churlish in the extreme to accentuate any negatives.

Fylde were outstanding, with Ollie Viney continuing his top-notch form, while Sam Beaumont was superb on his return to the side and Steve McGinnis proved an able ally in the back row.

In fact, Fylde were superior to Doncaster in most, if not all, departments.

They made a side on course for the Championship look second-raters for the most and it was a sign of Doncaster’s lack of ideas that they withdrew their leading scorer Tyson Lewis, much to his obvious displeasure, in the second half when they needed something out of the ordinary.

On this evidence, admittedly just 80-minutes, Doncaster will struggle in the Championship next season.

Fylde started in positive vein, Paul Arnold linking superbly with Viney, but Ben Vernon knocked on in the process of racing in the clear.

On six minutes, Fylde make the first scoring thrust.

A superb penalty kick by Chris Johnson gained acres of ground for Fylde - Doncaster were penalised again in the follow-up play.

The decision to run the ball worked out perfectly for Fylde as flanker McGinnis dived over with determination, shrugging off the attention of a posse of Doncaster defenders.

Johnson landed a belter of a conversion.

Next it was stand-in skipper Chris Briers to threaten with a searing, mazy break before Fylde were awarded a 10th minute penalty, slotted over by Johnson.

Play was held up for three minutes while Doncaster flanker Louis Spencer was treated - he tried to continue, but was replaced after less than a minute by Jack Bergmanas.

Fylde scented a second try, but Johnson spilled the ball with the line in sight.

The home side lost the ball on their own line-out throw, allowing Doncaster to launch an attack from deep - Fylde were then penalised and kicker Dougie Flockhart put his side’s first three points on the board after 22 minutes.

Immediately after, Arnold charged the ball down 20 yards out - he seemed to have the line at his mercy, but couldn’t pick up and the chance was lost.

But it was symptomatic that in the opening quarter, Fylde were giving the league leaders plenty to ponder - and then some.

That was underlined on 28 minutes when the athletic Ben Vernon made a fine catch at the line-out and the thrower Tom Burtonwood followed up to charge over the line - Johnson converted with a tremendous kick from wide out to take the score to 17-3.

To add to Doncaster’s first half problems, their number eight Adam Kettle was yellow-carded..

On 36 minutes, Fylde went further ahead - in an instant, desperate defence turned into attack as Warren Spragg gratefully accepted a stray pass and embarked on a 70-yard sprint that saw him out-pace all the Doncaster chasers in spectacular style. Johnson missed a difficult kick.

Fylde’s lead was 22-3 as the first half went into overtime.

Fylde had a let-off when loose line-out play ceded possession, but their defence stayed solid and firm.

The match exploded in the dying seconds of the half when Kettle was in disciplinary trouble yet again.

He was shown a red card by referee Tony Foley for striking out.

Instead of accepting his punishment, he reacted in a way that was shameful to himself and his club.

Kettle stormed off the pitch, made an expletive-ridden comment to the touch-judge before kicking out at and splintering a plastic chair in the technical area (Doncaster will be billed by Fylde, only a few quid, but it’’s the principle...)

It was as shoddy on-field - and off-field - behaviour as has been witnessed by a player at Fylde for a long time

Fylde maintained their 22-3 lead by the time the ref blew the whistle.

Johnson nearly brought up Fylde’s fourth try, but was just scragged by a high tackle as he went tantalisingly close, leading to the thought that Fylde should have got a penalty try.

It became 14-a-side for 10 minutes when Arnold was yellow-carded for an offence while Doncaster launched an attack.

On 52 minutes, Doncaster breached the Fylde line as the referee awarded a penalty try, goaled by Jamie Lennard and it looked to be very much game on.

Fylde responded with a Johnson penalty to make the score 25-10.

Viney nearly sealed it for Fylde with a magnificent break, but he lost control of the ball yards from the line under a heavy, timely challenge by a Doncaster tackler.

There was a late flourish when centre Mat Clark sneaked in for a try, goaled by Lockhart