Rugby: City fight back to secure first league win of the season

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MILTON Keynes picked up their first Southern Counties North league win of the season at the third attempt on Saturday as they left Slough 30-19 victors.

Previous defeats to Reading Abbey and Olney have made it a disappointing start to the campaign for City, but with bottom side Tadley next up this weekend, the men from Emerson Valley have the ideal opportunity to make it back-to-back wins after a superb second half performance saw them beat Slough.

However, the visitors didn’t have it all their own way as Slough made the stronger start, opening the scoring with a converted try after six minutes. And things went from bad to worse for City as a second Slough try quickly followed to make it 12-0.

With half time approaching and the visitors still not on the scoreboard, City’s followers could have been forgiving for thinking it was only going to be another one of those days – especially after hooker Neil Forton had to leave the field with a neck injury to take no further part in the game.

Phil Powell eventually scored a penalty to get City off the mark, and they survived some Slough pressure after that as Darren Brodrick was yellow carded and spent time in the sin bin.

In fact it was the visitors who began to take control of the game and a Rob Matthews try in the corner saw them cut the gap to four points at the interval after Powell missed the conversion attempt.

However, Powell made amends for that miss with a fantastic long range penalty early in the second half, cutting the gap to a single points from all of 40 metres out. And he almost did it again a couple of minutes later, only to see the ball bounce back off the upright this time.

City looked back to their best, playing with flare going forward while looking tight at the back. However, Slough weren’t finished just yet as they had the visitors pinned back in their own half for the next 20 minutes, but crucially, without reward.

And after holding firm for so long, City broke down the other end of the field and took the lead for the first time when Scott Aspinall dived over in the corner and Powell converted to make it 18-12 to the away side.

With Slough heads starting to drop, Brodrick scored City’s third try of the day, and although Powell failed to add the extras this time, the lead had been stretched to 11 points.

Two further tries followed in the final stages – first Dan Rolfe touching down for City, with Powell converting, before Slough hit back with a consolation to make the final score 30-19.

With Tadley visiting this Saturday, City need to build on their first success of the season and start closing the gap on the five teams above them in the table.

While City were winning for the first time this term, Olney were being beaten for the first time as they went down 28-8 at Reading Abbey – a Cowan penalty and Robinson try giving Olney their points.