10th Dec, 2016

Coventry fight back to draw away at Blackheath

Steve Carpenter 18th Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A STIRRING second half comeback saw Coventry come from behind to draw 20-20 on what could be their last ever visit to the Rectory Field.

Dom Lespierre scored right at the death to salvage a draw in this National League One tie although it could have be more had Caolan Ryan not missed the resultant conversion attempt.

One final twist almost saw Blackheath re-take the lead four minutes into injury-time but Freddie Gabbittas’ penalty drifted wide of the target before the referee ended this entertaining battle.

Without the services of new father Matt Jones, Coventry struggled in the first half with Blackheath applying lots of pressure and holding a commanding 17-3 lead at half-time.

The warning signs were there early on with veteran flanker Dave Allen scoring on what could prove to be his final against Coventry and with 34 minutes played Blackheath’s Owen had crossed too with Gabbitass converting both and a penalty for a 17-point lead.

Ryan, who missed an earlier attempt, did then pull three priceless points back with a penalty in first half added on time but at 17-3 down the omens did not look good for the visitors.

Coventry came our flying after half-time and went on to dominate large periods of the match, although they were boosted by the fact that the hosts were recuced to 13 men.

On 42 minutes Coventry pulled back valuable points as the fightback grew. Callum MacBurnie was held up by the try line but the visitors asserted themselves from a tap penalty and the hardworking George Oliver crossed for Ryan to convert well for 17-10.

Burcham for Blackheath and Thorne soon then received their yellow cards, but with Sam Pailor controlling well at the base of the scrums, as he had done throughout despite serious pressure, the feeling was certainly there for a comeback to a continue.

On 60 minutes, Gabbitass, courtesy of a penalty, increased the home lead to 20-10 before on 69 minutes a Scott Hamilton break inspired Coventry towards try number two.

An excellent grubber kick through saw Rob Knox cross for his ninth try of the season but the Ryan conversion attempt drifted wide.

With just five points in it there was all to play for in the final ten minutes but it stayed that way unil the final moments when Lespierre crossed wide out on the right after excellent work from the forwards and it stayed 20-20 with both sides taking two match points.

Coventry currently sit ninth but are guaranteed to secure eighth position with Plymouth Albion set to be docked 30 points for going into administration. Up next for Coventry is a home clash against third-placed Ampthill & District.