Doncaster RLFC 18 Newcastle Thunder 19: Sam Doherty hat trick in vain for Dons
Doncaster RLFC’s Betfred League One promotion hopes suffered a setback when going down to a 19-18 defeat against fifth-placed Newcastle Thunder at Featherstone’s LD Nutrition Stadium.
With the game looking set to end in an 18-18 draw, Newcastle stand-off Nick Newman dropped a last minute goal to earn his side a dramatic win.
The Dons could have snatched victory themselves seconds earlier but for Matty Beharrell’s 25-metre attempt being charged down.
Newcastle had earlier raced into an early 12-0 lead following close-range tries by loose-forward Joel Edwards and prop Liam McAvoy.
In comparison, the Dons looked lethargic and short of ideas for the rest of the first quarter and beyond.
Centre Jason Tali looked dangerous with the ball at times but little was seen of on-loan stand-off Watson Boas on the home ground of his parent club.
The Dons opened their account when they elected to run a kickable penalty in the Thunder 20 - winger Sam Doherty touching down out wide for a converted try from a lofted pass by Beharrell which came close to being intercepted.
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The Dons looked set to draw level when on-loan second-rower Menzie Yere brushed off a couple of defenders on a 20-metre run and touched down under the posts only for the referee to rule he dropped the ball in the act of scoring.
Thunder rode their luck and opened up an 18-6 interval lead when scrum-half Michael Lewis raced through a defence which had tightened up considerably from the opening minutes on the stoke of half time.
Playing up the slope the Dons looked to have it all to do in the second half but a second Doherty try on 58 minutes gave them hope.
Beharrell again added the touchline conversion, as he did after sending Doherty over for his hat trick try on 64 minutes, to set up a thrilling finish.
Dons: Howden, Armitage, Bower, Tali, Doherty, Boas, Beharrell,Nzoungou, Kesik, Scott, Yere, Foster, Hedges. Subs: Boyle, Brown, Spiers, Litten.