Macclesfield 34-34 Ealing Trailfinders

1st April 2012

Blues Club Captain Ross Winney’s injury time penalty sealed a much deserved 34-34 draw with promotion chasing Ealing at Priory Park.

Tries from Charlie Mulchrone, Tom Mantell, Josh Fowles and Eddie Stobart saw Blues in front for long periods of the game, but a second-half resurgence from the Trailfinders saw the home side chasing the game in the closing moments.

Blues director of rugby and head coach Geoff Wappett said: “We got three points today, we could have had five, but equally we may have walked away with just one.

“We went a bit flat on the hour mark and they took advantage of that, but the attitude we showed to find ourselves in the last 10 minutes was fantastic.

“Both sides will walk away thinking they could have won today, but at the end of the day I would rather be sharing the spoils than being gracious in defeat.”

A second-minute Ealing try put the visitors in front, but Mulchrone’s magnificent solo effort found the gaps in the Ealing defence to score Macclesfield’s first converted try.

The Blues were soon down to 14, as Tom Eaton saw yellow for an alleged foul play offence.

Despite being a man down, Blues looked lively, and soon extended their lead to 14-5 with Mantell scoring from a desperate battle on the visitor’s line.

Ealing’s Peter Hodgkinson proved to be too difficult to handle after the full back broke through Macc’s defence to keep the visitors in the game.

A niggling calf injury forced Sam Moss off the pitch, handing Dave Blackwell his first appearance since joining the club.

Winney kicked the Blues to a 17-12 lead going into half time, proving Macclesfield were no pushovers against their promotion-chasing opponents.

Ealing rallied after the break for Bruynseels to score his second try of the match and level the match.

Blues responded brilliantly just minutes later throughTom Davenport; his surging run through the Ealing defence was off-loaded onto Eaton, who threw a long pass to Josh Fowles to score out wide.

The upset was looking more likely shortly after when Stobart’s converted try gave Blues a 31-17 lead.

Ealing showed their promotion credentials rallying to close the gap, first through Jack Clifford, before the visitors added another two tries to take an unlikely lead with 13 minutes remaining.

The match might have been very different had Ealing’s Ben Ward not had a nightmare time of it in front of the posts; the stand-off missing five of his seven attempts at goal.

Blues looked set for a fifth straight defeat for the second time this season, but a last minute turnover earned Blues a reprieve.

Utilising a penalty advantage, Blues almost had a winning score through Winney, but the full-back was brought agonisingly into touch two metres out.

Referee Andrew Jackson brought the play back for the original offence and Winney stepped up with a composed calmness to slot a sixth successful kick and earn his side a deserved three points, which will provide a much-needed boost heading to Jersey in two weeks’ time.

Wappett added: “Charlie (Mulchrone) and Edd (Stobart) were fantastic today.

“In this league, you see gaps appear in the defence and there is no-one better than Charlie at finding those and exploiting them.

“The harder ground suits Edd perfectly, he looks half a yard quicker when the conditions are optimum, and he has put in a couple of fantastic performances in the last two weeks.

“We have two weeks off now to get everyone fit and rested before we head to Jersey, which will be a unique occasion that I am sure the lads will relish.”