Doncaster RLFC just 80 minutes away from play-off final after impressive 20-6 victory
Doncaster RLFC are just 80 minutes away from booking their place in Betfred League One play-off final following their impressive 20-6 win against Newcastle at Kingston Park.
Their victory, which earned them a semi-final tie at favourites Oldham this weekend, was based on an outstanding defensive display and some clinical finishing
Leading try-scorer Sam Doherty took less than two minutes to add to his tally when touching down from a high kick to the corner by scrum-half Matty Beharrell following a strong start by the Dons.
Thunder tested the Doncaster defence before hooker Kyle Kesik, who got through a lot of work in the first quarter, sparked off a neat move down the left which took play into the opposition half.
Doherty went close to a second try from a Beharrell kick on 12 minutes.
The Dons continued to make the running and for a side which had finished third and had lost just twice at home during the regular season, Newcastle didn’t caused the Dons many problems in the first quarter.
Beharrell, who had earlier needed two spells of treatment for a knee problem, missed out on the chance to put his side 6-0 up on 31 minutes when he pulled his straight 40m penalty just wide.
Thunder were reduced to 12 men on 33 minutes when centre Matty Wright, fortunate not to be sent off, was sin-binned for a high tackle on winger Tom Halliday.
Skipper Ryan Boyle was held up over the line as the Dons looked to cash in on their numerical advantage. Watson Boas then lost the possession over the line after the ball had been moved at pace.
There was a similar let-off for the Dons when Newcastle winger Alex Clegg also lost the ball over the line.
The visitors rode their luck and centre Jason Tali rounded off a bout of good handling and support play to score in the corner.
The Dons finished the half on top and twice came close to a third try.
Thunder twice went close to opening their account out wide in the opening stages of the second half and it needed try-saving efforts by Boas and Tali to deny them.
The Dons weathered the pressure and opened up a 14-0 lead on 46 minutes when Frankie Mariano forced his way over under the post for a try goaled by Beharrell.
Newcastle looked more dangerous in the third quarter, especially on their left flank, but handling mistakes didn’t help their cause.
When they did manage to get the ball over the line in the 56th minute they were penalised for a double movement.
Winger Matty Chrimes put the result beyond doubt on 64 minutes when he latched on to a loose ball and raced over 50m to score a converted try.
Thunder finished strongly and Alex Clegg grabbed a late converted try out wide.
Dons: Howden, Doherty, Bower, Tali, Halliday, Chase, Beharell; Nzoungou, Kesik, Spiers, Mariano, Hedges, Wilkinson. Subs: Boas, Boyle, Douglas, Chrimes.