Mansfield Secure Victory at Derby

Derby 17 - 24 Mansfield

Last Updated: Mar 4, 2014 05:06pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Miles
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 Outstanding All Round Team Performance Seals Victory at Derby



Mansfield made the short trip to Derby determined to avenge a narrow defeat at Eakring Road earlier in the season when Derby escaped with a slender one point victory.

On perfect day for rugby, the blue and whites received the kick off with the late winter sun on their backs. Andy Simms claimed and worked the ball back to Jonathan Williams who cleared into touch on half way.

Captain Phil Donaldson stole the line out but a knock-on at close quarters gave the advantage to the home side, Derby win the scrum and drive into the Mansfield half. The referee penalised Mansfield for a tackle infringement, three points gratefully accepted.

Worse was to follow, the re-start failed to make the required ten metres and Derby had an attacking scrum on half way. Encouraged by a large vocal home support, Derby picked up from the scrum and made progress into the Mansfield 22. With an overlap out wide the try looked a formality but for the quick thinking Ash Wills anticipating the interception, agonisingly the ball is dropped.

With only five minutes played Derby have another attacking scrum, Mansfield are penalised and Derby opt for the corner. The crowd now in full voice Phil Donaldson steals and Williams booms his clearance to half way.

Ten minutes played, Mansfield scrum on half way, Alan Symcox picks up from the base and the ball is quickly moved down line eventually finding brother Joe playing out of position in the centres. He makes ground into the Derby half before Ash Wills finds touch on the Derby five metre line.

With early pressure absorbed it is now Mansfield in the ascendency, Derby clear to touch. A scrappy line out is won by Derby only for them to knock-on giving Mansfield a scrum ten metres into opposition territory. Again Symcox picks up from the base and off loads to back row partner Josh Hall in support who is tackled hard in midfield but manages to recycle quick ball. Adam Shaw picks up releasing Williams who in turn passes to Ash Wills on the 22 who glides past three defenders to score next to the posts. Williams was successful with the conversion and the blue and whites deservedly lead, 7-3 with 16 minutes played.

Symcox successfully gathers the restart, recycles to Williams who clears over the retreating winger, the home side fail to secure the loose ball and are penalised. The previously metronomic boot of Williams this time fails to capitalise, pushing his kick narrowly left.

The restart is claimed by Richard Donaldson, supported by Ian Coleman they make ground into the Derby half only to be halted by a knock-on. Once again Derby pick up from the scrum, Mansfield eventually stopping the drive on the 22. Derby recycle, spin wide and seeing space chip over the advancing defence, only quick thinking by stand in winger Bobby Ogunode saves the day. Derby are penalised for their impatience on the floor and Williams clears to half way at the midpoint in the half.

An inconclusive line out gives Mansfield a scrum, Williams clears forcing an error from the Derby full back who returns the ball out on the full. The line-out is cleaned up by Liam Grant, this time Derby are penalised for going off their feet. Once again the usually reliable Williams pushes his kick wide.

Josh Hall claims the restart; the ball is recycled eventually finding Joe Symcox hitting the line at pace. He is brought to ground on the Derby ten metre line, this time brother Alan supports and takes it on into the 22. Once again the home side infringe, Williams makes no mistake, 10-3 to the visitors and half an hour played.

Another restart gathered by Donaldson and Williams clears. Derby collect the kick and run it back into Mansfield territory but a superb defensive effort from the visitors restrict play to the middle third of the field. Great work at the breakdown from Grant who steals and offloads to Shaw in support, he shrugs off tacklers only halted by a last ditch tackle by the covering Full Back. Derby knock on as they desperately attempt to recover possession, Symcox picks up from the scrum and passes to Adam Shaw in space who strolls in unescorted behind the posts. Williams adds the extras, it's now 17-3 to the visitors.

Jack Parr returns the restart to half-way, the breakdown is tidied up by Danny Ellis on for the injured Coleman, once again Derby are penalised and Williams clears. Another pinpoint throw by Chester Scott at the line out finds Donaldson at the back. Quick ball off the top releases Joe Symcox on the crash ball, he runs over would be tacklers before being stopped inches short of the line. Derby steal and clear long, the rest of the half is played out in midfield and the referee blows for half time.

The second period gets underway with Mansfield facing the rapidly falling sun. Derby regain possession and a series of strong runs carry the ball deep into Mansfield territory, only a stray foot in touch halts the attack. Symcox collects the line out and the sure footed Williams clears.

Josh Hall steals the line out releasing Joe Symcox on the crash ball eventually hauled to ground on the Derby 22 only to be penalised for holding on. Derby take a quick tap but fail to gain territory thanks to superb Mansfield defence, Derby are forced to kick but the kick goes dead, Mansfield scrum on the Derby 22. Once again Symcox makes ground from the base and Wills finds a clever touch in the corner.

Derby again run from deep but this time are penalised on half way for crossing, Williams returns the ball to the corner. McGregor climbs high to claim the line out, the maul is formed and the home side are marched back over the line. A beaming Josh Hall emerges from the pileup, Williams adds the conversion, 24-3 to the visitors and twenty minutes left.

Donaldson takes the restart in front of a much quieter audience and releases the backs who take play to the Derby 22, the ball is quickly recycled and with an overlap out wide the final pass goes to ground. Derby are penalised for delaying the line out, Shaw taps quickly catching the home side offside, Williams declines the three points launching the ball into the corner seeking the bonus point score. Line-out secure Joe Symcox breaks through the defence, Wills chips and Derby are back on their own five metre line. Derby clear their lines, Williams spots the gap but his audacious offload from the back of his hand to Wills in support is adjudged forward.

With ten minutes to go, Derby win a free kick from a scrum on the Mansfield 22, a quick tap catches the so far impenetrable Mansfield defence on the back foot; extras added the gap is closed to fourteen.

With two minutes to go seventeen year-old Anthony Symcox joins the fray with brothers Alan and Joe. Older brother Alan picks up but is penalised for not releasing, Derby have a line out midway in Mansfield territory. A catch and drive from line out rallies the home crowd who have now rediscovered their vocal chords. The defence holds firm but an infringement on the floor results in a yellow card for Ogunode and a Derby line-out five metre out.

Another catch and drive is halted, but a well worked scissor movement out wide gives Derby the score. The conversion successful the referee brings an end to proceedings and Derby this only claim the losing bonus point at the death, final score 24-17. Coach Steve Shaw reflected on a superb all-round team performance from which certainly appeased the early season disappointment. Next week Huntingdon visit Eakring Road, kick off is 3PM, you can follow the action on Twitter, go to @MansfieldRugby.




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