Ealing Trailfinders 19-11 London Welsh
Ealing Trailfinders left it late, but eventually ground down a determined London Welsh side to grab four of the five points on offer to maintain their position of third in the Greene King IPA Championship.
After 75 minutes the pack won a penalty that Aaron Penberthy converted to take the lead for the first time at 13-11.
As the clock ran down and Welsh tried desperately to fight back, Penberthy held his nerve to score his third penalty and then with the final kick of the game, wiggled his way onto his left foot to drop a goal that meant the visitors left empty-handed.
It didn’t take London Welsh long to open the scoring. Fullback Martyn Thomas ran back a high kick and broke into the Ealing Trailfinders half. He was stopped by a combination of Alex Walker and Luke Daniels, but hooker Nathan Morris was on hand to collect the pop pass and run home.
The Exiles used the try to assert their dominance early on, notably through their attacking line-out and Joe Carlisle knocked over a penalty to extend their early advantage.
Ealing Trailfinders' first chance came after Aled Jenkins charged down a Carlisle clearance. Matt Cornish took it on, but the team were able to capitalise. They maintained the pressure though and Penberthy slotted a penalty soon after.
The points preceded a good period of pressure for Ealing Trailfinders, who found their rhythm with backs and forwards linking up together and eventually they were rewarded when Penberthy scored his second penalty.
On the stroke of half-time Penberthy had the chance to put the hosts into the lead for the first time, but his kick rebounded back off a post to leave the Exiles ahead at the break.
The second half continued as the first ended with Ealing Trailfinders enjoying the better of the possession and territory, albeit without converting it into points.
Welsh stretched their lead when Carlisle scored his second penalty and then the match swung back and forth without either side able to grab the match by the scruff of the neck.
Just over 10 minutes from time Welsh number 8 Kieran Murphy was yellow carded and after the penalty was kicked to touch. After the initial drive from Willie Ryan, Penberthy was stopped illegally short of the line.
From the scrum the pack drove hard to win a penalty try and Penberthy converted to put Ealing Trailfinders into the lead for the first time.
The pack won another scrum penalty two minutes from time and Penberthy converted the penalty to stretch the lead to five points with two to go. He then dropped a goal off his left foot to extend the advantage further still on the stroke of half-time.
Tries (Penalty 75), Conversions (Penberthy 75), Penalties (Penberthy 20, 24, 78), Drop goals (Penberthy 79)
Tries (Morris 2), Penalties (Carlisle 16, 54)
Luke Daniels, Rhys Crane, Aled Jenkins, Joe Munro, Curtis Wilson, Aaron Penberthy, Alex Walker; Ignacio Lancuba, Rhys Lawrence, Lewis Thiede, Harry Casson, Adam Preocanin, Chris York, Arthur Ellis, Mark Bright (captain)
Alun Walker, James Gibbons, Alex Penny, Willie Ryan, Lewis Jones, Josh Davies, Ben Ward
Martyn Thomas, Kristian Phillips, Nick Reynolds, Seb Jewell, Chris Elder, Joe Carlisle, Rob Lewis; Nathan Trevett, Nathan Morris, Ben Cooper, Ben West, Barney Maddison, Ben Pienaar, Ryan Hodson (captain), Kieran Murphy
Koree Britton, James Hallam, Lovejoy Chawatama, Jesse Liston, Ryan Glynn, Glyn Hughes, Heath Stevens
Attendance – 792
Referee – Michael Hudson