Match report: Fylde 32 Loughborough Students 21

Fylde head coach Paul Arnold bowed out of the Woodlands with victory on Saturday
Fylde head coach Paul Arnold bowed out of the Woodlands with victory on Saturday

fylde 32

With relegation rivals Blaydon and Hull Ionians scrapping for their lives, Fylde had been staring down the barrel.

When they went 14-7 down in the 16th minute, it looked like another difficult day.

In the sixth minute a clever backs move cut the home defence to shreds and Gair Currie finished it off, Owen Waters converting with ease.

Loughborough’s attacks on Fylde’s defence were interrupted four minutes later when David Fairbrother muscled through a couple of tackles on halfway and raced through for a try, converted by Greg Smith to make it 7-7.

This equality was fleeting as the Students resumed their attacking strategy with Waters scoring under the posts and converting his own try.

In the 25th minute, as Fylde pressed deep in the Loughborough half, Greg Smith put in an inch-perfect kick and Connor Wilkinson won the race to score a try which left Fylde 14-12 in arrears.

A couple of minutes before half-time and Smith’s grubber kick was touched down by skipper Chris Briers with Smith’s conversion putting his side ahead for the first time.

Briers then turned from hero to villain on the stroke of half-time when he was sinbinned after being adjudged guilty of a high tackle.

Loughborough took advantage a minute into half when Jordan Olowofela raced through some indeterminate tackling and Waters’ conversion put them 21-19 ahead.

Despite being down to 14 players, Fylde hit back immediately with Smith gliding through for the bonus point try and converting to see them 26-21 ahead.

A Smith penalty on 55 minutes then extended that lead to eight points at 29-21.

The visitors’ cause wasn’t helped when Jack Stapley was sinbinned for interference before a fracas saw Fylde’s Jake Pope and the Students’ Max Berry also sent to the bin on 70 minutes.

There was still time for Smith to kick another penalty as he ended with 17 points and Fylde with safety secured.