Stirring comeback arrives too late for Market Rasen & Louth
THE Reds & Greens make the long trip to Towcestrians this weekend looking to get back to winning ways.
A strangely subdued Rasen side were beaten 22-15 by Newark at Willingham Road last time out.
The hosts were behind in the Midlands 1 East clash within two minutes after an early penalty gave Newark an attacking line-out, which was driven forward before the ball was swiftly moved to the opposite wing.
Aloesi Waqalevu still had some work to do, but he brushed through some ineffectual tackling to score in the corner.
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However, Rasen weathered the early storm and launched a counter-attack which forced Newark to concede a penalty on the edge of their 22, in front of the posts.
Full-back Meehal Grint slipped as he struck the ball, but it still managed to clear the bar and Rasen were on the scoreboard.
A yellow card for prop Jason Barnsdale two minutes later reduced the visitors to 14 men and should have given Rasen the advantage.
But Newark made light of their depleted ranks and continued to keep Rasen pinned in their own half through some controlled play and astute kicking.
Another penalty kick set up Newark for a catch and drive that was temporarily held before the second drive was capitalised on by scrum-half Matt Clark forcing his way over the line.
Fly-half Daniel Coen slotted the conversion and then punished a further Rasen indiscretion ten minutes later with a well struck penalty.
Newark cranked up the pressure after the break and Rasen looked to be holding out until Clark, with a typical scrum-half's eye for an opening, sniped over from close in. Coen added the conversion to put his side 22-3 ahead with half an hour remaining.
As the game entered the final quarter, Rasen skipper Dave Starling, now operating at centre, broke the Newark shackles and surged over the halfway line.
Support arrived and Rasen recycled the ball for substitute Matt Ashton to gallop in under the posts. Matt Sutton added the conversion and Rasen suddenly looked a different team.
Heading into the final ten minutes, and Newark lock Richard Primett received his marching orders with a yellow card leaving his side to see out the match a man down.
This time Rasen made no mistake and punished Newark with a catch and drive from the ensuing penalty, finished off by number eight Leigh Dearden.
There followed a frantic eight minutes as Rasen desperately tried to get on terms, but they had left it too late and Newark clung on to their victory.