Yorkshire Carnegie: Last-gasp Georgiou spares misfiring Carnegie’s blushes

Christian Georgiou
Christian Georgiou
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Yorkshire Carnegie needed a desperate late comeback to spare their blushes against the Championship’s worst team.

Yorkshire Carnegie needed a desperate late comeback to spare their blushes against the Championship’s worst team.

Plymouth Albion had not won for 17 games, a sequence dating back to March 8, which serves to emphasise how far Carnegie have fallen.

But Carnegie replacement Christian Georgiou punctured Albion’s resistance – they were down to 13 men at the time – and their hopes with a sprint for the line from 15 metres out.

Harry Leonard missed the resulting conversion with the last kick of the game, but a draw was about all Gary Mercer’s side deserved.

Worryingly, the crowd was 1,265, the lowest for many a year and almost half the amount of people who witnessed the sorry defeat to Rotherham Titans two weeks ago.

Right now, the summer rebrand has alienated more Leeds punters than it has attracted Yorkshire folk.

Carnegie had started purposefully and their handling was sharp in the teeming rain.

Pete Lucock’s neat grubber found the rampaging Jonah Holmes, but the full-back’s timing was ever-so slightly off and he knocked on as he slid in to score.

Plymouth, buoyed by their hosts’ failure to convert, then laid siege to the Carnegie line, drawing a succession of penalties through their pack that they repeatedly kicked to touch to try and force the try.

Their audacity was punished when from a rolling maul they was penalised for holding on and the pressure was eased on Mercer’s men.

Carnegie were making hay down the left flank with David Doherty benefitting from space and it was his thrust that created a penalty opportunity that Leonard kicked 17 minutes in.

Albion opted to take the points on offer when the next opportunity arose, turning the home scrum 30 metres out, but Lawrence Rayner pulled his kick.

Leonard then laced one through the posts from 45 metres to keep Carnegie on top.

Then in the Satsuma Segment of time – a commercial gimmick by the club’s sponsors that rewarded fans in the club shop if the home team scored – Carnegie duly obliged when Phil Nilsen barrelled over. It was met by the loudest cheer of the night.

Plymouth were not so amused and instantly responded with an attack that belatedly resulted in their first points from Rayner’s boot.

The opportune Sam Simmonds then tried to kick his way to the try line but the Albion flanker was denied by Holmes.

Carnegie looked like their old selves, moving the ball quickly even in their own 22. At times it worked, other times it didn’t like when Albion full-back Marc Koteczky was presented with a glorious chance to score that he contrived to squander.

Stout defence meant Plymouth left with only three more points from Rayner.

Rayner then edged Albion in front shortly after the break with two penalties, the first of which saw Carnegie prop James Tideswell sent to the sin-bin.

Carnegie faced an enormous test of character, one that was eased by a red card for Plymouth hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie shortly before the hour.

Against the 14 men Carnegie dominated but still their decision-making was ponderous. When presented with a simple penalty to retake the lead they kicked for touch and then subsequently knocked on.

The punishment for such dithering was swift. Plymouth launched an attack that eventually led to Simmonds, the flanker, barrelling over.

Rayner’s conversion stretched Albion’s lead to eight points with eight minutes remaining. Carnegie looked dead and buried, but a sin-binning of fly-half Declan Cusack presented a simple penalty for Leonard and gave the beleaguered, desperate hosts hope. Georgiou’s late attack gave them some reward, but Leonard’s missed kick neatly summed up the malaise surrounding Carnegie.

Afterwards, head coach Mercer, who has yet to stamp his authority on the team, attempted to take the positives.

“We’re making a lot of basic errors and it’s not good enough, but I will back this team.

“You have to give this team credit for digging in. This can be a platform for us.”

Yorkshire Carnegie: Holmes, Goss, Vickerman, Lucock, Doherty (Georgiou 69), Leonard, Dudman (Pilgrim 40); Beech (Imiolek 75), Nilsen (J Walker 58), Tideswell, Hannay (Barnard 75), Smith (Beck 58), Williams, Walker, Burrows. Unused reps: Imiolek, Hill, Barnard.

Plymouth Albion: Koteczky (Cusack 55), Foley, Woods, Howley-Berridge, Arnott, Rayner, Cushion (Setter 55); Fidler, Cowan-Dickie, Brown, Hicks, Patrick (Jubb 63), Langley, Simmonds, Oakley. Unused reps: Matavesi, Chapman, Heard, Homan.

Referee: D Procter (RFU).

Chris Elder

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