Match report: Leeds Carnegie v Gloucester

Spirited Leeds Carnegie showed some new year's resolve to grind out a 15-13 win over Gloucester which ended their long losing run in the Aviva Premiership.

When visitors Gloucester opened a 13-10 lead early in the second half – after twice wiping out a Leeds advantage – Carnegie's misery looked set to continue.

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But Leeds had been the better side even when they trailed and they deservedly battled back to secure a priceless opening victory, courtesy of Michael Stephenson's close-range try on the hour.

Gloucester replacement Charlie Sharples' error gave Carnegie the opportunity for an all-out assault and they made a huge spell of pressure count as Stephenson forced his way over.

Ceiron Thomas' missed conversion and a later failed penalty attempt made for a tense final quarter, but Carnegie held on with few alarms, sparking jubilation on and off the field at the final whistle.

Earlier, they had led 7-0 after Hendre Fourie touched down and Thomas converted, only for Gloucester to level through James Simpson-Daniel's fine try – off the only flowing move of the game – and an equally impressive Freddie Burns conversion.

Thomas and Burns exchanged penalties and the Gloucester marksman missed one and added another after the break.

Remarkably, it was Carnegie's third successive victory, following the home and away European cup wins over Crociati.

Proud head coach Neil Back hailed his players for the calm way they

kept Gloucester at bay in the final quarter.

"Going into this week where we were, it was absolutely critical and non-negotiable that we won this game," said Back.

"That was communicated to the players during the week and they did the job.

"I am pleased with the way they dug in. The squad's positivity and belief belies where we are in the Premiership."

Back added: "It's job done, but we are still adrift at the bottom of the table. There's still a mountain to climb, but we believe we are equipped to once again consolidate our position and build a team that can compete in the top half of the table."

Left-wing Stephenson's winning score took some scoring and Back said: "All the guys are in phenomenal shape, you have got to admire the hard work they put in.

"For a smaller man, the power and determination he showed was an example to everyone."

Leeds Carnegie: C Thomas, Blackett, Fa'afili, Barrow (Burrell 69), Stephenson, MacKay, Fury (Mathie 51), Hardy, (MacDonald 51), Thompson, Swainston, Denton, Wentzel (Myall blood-bin 13th, reversed 21), Oakley (Paul 62), Fourie, Browne (Myall 51). Unused replacements Nilsen, Denman, Hinton.

Gloucester: Morgan, Simpson-Daniel (Sharples 54), Tindall, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Vainikolo, Burns (Robinson 64), R Lawson (Lewis 63), Wood, S Lawson, Capdevielle (Harden bb 18th, reversed 22, Harden 63), James, Brown, Buxton, Hazell (Qera 63), Narraway. Unused replacements Azam, Y Thomas, Strokosch, Robinson.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth.