Old Streetonians come up just short against Harlow
East Londoners lose by two
If you had offered Old Streetonians a bonus point before this clash with third in the table Romford, they may have taken, but this was little consolation to the east London side after they came so close to the upset of the season.
Street, finally going down by two points, had numerous opportunities to win, but their inability to close out a game has hurt them again.
The visitors started well, showing more than just the forward dominated game that they showed in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. But still strong up front, ‘Park’ powered over from close range to open the scoring. 5-0. They soon had another, this time exploiting Streets slow organisation in defence to go over in the right corner after some tidy handling by the backs.
Street were not being outclassed, far from it. And as the half drew on, so the Hackney club grew in confidence. After one missed attempt, Barham kicked a penalty to get Street on the board. Then, after a sustained period of pressure on the Romford line, Street eventually worked the ball to the right for McAndrew to touch down. The conversion was too wide for Barham, but Street were right in the game for 10-8.
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The second half saw the Street pack grow in dominance, as they began to break up the Romford rolling maul at will, and even stole a scrum against the head. The pace was frantic, the ball often in play for long periods of time, as both teams pushed for the win.
Romford were first to press their claim, attacking the space well after a turnover in midfield. Despite some last valiant last ditch tackling, Street eventually ran out of numbers, and Romford scored under the posts to extend their lead to 17–8.
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But Street came back again, with the forwards again providing the platform for Dunn to run the show in the backs. After some good work by second rows Jones and Silverstone, Dunn was able to put Downey into space out wide. The young full back arced and swerved to finish under the posts from halfway, the score of the day without doubt. Barham converted to bring Street within two points for 17-15.
From there, both teams had chances to win it. Streets best came from a penalty, earned after a break by the energetic Harry Marson was ended in a dangerous spear tackle. But the effort, from right in front of the sticks, was somehow put wide by Barham – a miss that will haunt him if his side fail to avoid the drop.
Romford also came close, only denied by a superb cover tackle by the impressive Atkinson, who was having a superb game filling in at 9 after injuries have robbed Street of their first three choices of scrum half. Romford were pushing for their bonus point, Street for the win, which made the final minutes pulsating.
Street were in possession as the final minutes approached. As they began to run out of steam from several periods of play lasting up to 5 minutes, the moves were starting to go more sideways than forwards, but breaks by the fresh legged Perry in midfield and Mackay down the left, both nearly won it for Street. But some scrambled defence by the visitors saved their day, and Street were left to rue another opportunity missed.
With only three games left, and Street still in the relegation zone, two points behind their nearest rivals, they will need at least two wins to make them safe.
The task does not get any easier next week, as they visit league leaders Rochford, but after this performance, they know they have the ability to cause the upset of the season.
Old Streetonians: Hollingsworth, Mackay, Wollaston (Edwards 60), Essex, Jones, Andrews, Marson, Nicholson, Atkinson, Dunn,
McAndrew (Perry 70), Barham, Pickard, Donegan, Downey.