MATCH REPORT – Workington Town 32 – 30 Newcastle Thunder

Newcastle Thunder saw the chance to remain second in the Betfred League 1 table slip through their fingers on Sunday afternoon, as the Tynesiders fell to a two point loss away to Workington Town.

On a trademark heavy West Cumbrian pitch, it was the hosts that edged the opening exchanges with an effective kicking game ensuring Thunder started from deep in their half against a set defensive line.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock however as Thunder made the most of a penalty from a high tackle.

Making hard yards up the middle, Aaron Ollett was the man to power over despite the attentions of two defenders to get his side off the mark with a converted score.

The second row went from hero to villain at the restart, with a mistake at the play the ball on Thunder’s first tackle, handing possession to Town 30m out.

Despite being able to build territory following a penalty, the hosts were kept at bay by Newcastle, who extended their lead on 14 mins.

Playing on a repeat set after a Workington knock-on, Liam McAvoy made the most of a simple pop pass for a second converted try.

The visitors were 18 points to the good seven minutes later after a series of strong carries give them a solid attacking platform in Town’s 20.

Moving the ball through the hands, a smart change of angle to Lewis Young gave the fleet-footed fullback enough space to jink his way through.

A last gasp tap-tackle knocked him off his feet, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from crossing and bagging his 50th try in Thunder colours.

Town hit back after Thunder penalised got off side with a close range effort from Sam Hopkins, before a move that would grace any premier league football pitch yielded their second, as a well placed cross out to the wing was scooped up by Scott Rooke.

It was a fortuitous score as Thunder had been driving Town back on consecutive tackles up to that point, but allowed Workington to level with two minutes to go through Jamie Doran.

Lurking out on the wing, the stand-off appeared to be in front of the kicker as a cross-field punt was put out for him to catch, however he was adjudged to be onside by the officials and the try was allowed to stand.

Workington assumed the lead early in the second half after a prolonged period in the shadow of Newcastle’s try line gave a simple kick at goal.

Despite enjoying some promising positions and asking plenty of questions of the Town defence, Thunder were frustratingly unable to find the killer blow to get themselves back into the contest.

Instead, Workington were able to add a further 12 unanswered points through Perry Singleton and Doran as they kept their composure in the red zone better than the visitors.

Following a pair of penalties against Town for ripping in the tackle, Cory Aston cut through the home defence for a try under the sticks, before a grandstand finish was set up by Joe Brown.

Following another strong attacking set, Aston turned provider with a fizzing pass out to the wing finding the Jamaican international who dived over for the try.

Jy-mel Coleman ensures his side had a chance to win it in the closing six minutes with an outstanding touchline conversion, but over-eagerness saw two gilt-edged opportunities to go begging and allowed Lyon Price’s side to go to the top of the table.