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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Workington Town taught lesson as Doncaster ease home

Doncaster 26 Workington Town 4: Doncaster ended Workington Town’s interest in the Championship One title last year and the Dons were again the Cumbrians’ masters at the higher level.

Brett Carter photo
Brett Carter

Town, who had started with such gusto to provide their travelling fans with hope, didn’t cross the Doncaster line until four minutes from the end and by then the contest was over.

Doncaster had already claimed five tries and were out of sight when John Patrick crashed over in the corner for what was only a consolation try.

Once again the concern for the Town coaching team is the inability of their side to prise open the opposition, create the chances to be finished-off. The first three games have yielded only four touchdowns – and two of those were in the opening win at Swinton, who have lost all three games so far.

Town should have won handier than 14-10 at Swinton; they had plenty of pressure against a very good Halifax side but had to settle for a single try after 54 seconds while Sunday’s only score came ion the 76th minute.

Coach Gary Charlton said: “We have to be smarter when we are pushing for a try. At the moment we just seem to lack the guile and craft to open-up other teams.

“There’s no way I can fault the commitment and effort from all the players. It’s been first class in all three games but our inability to finish-off is a problem which we are addressing and will continue to work on.”

Doncaster have moved up a notch from last season and look capable of a top half finish, and on the evidence of what we saw at the Keepmoat will finish highest of the four promoted clubs.

But Workington do have room for improvement, and if they had been able to prise open the Doncaster defence when they had control in the first 15 minutes, it might have been a different tale.

Brett Carter, after a typical run, dodging and weaving his way to the line, was just unable to get the ball down as three defenders nailed him.

Then good work by Andy Morris created a running chance for Mark Calderwood. The experienced winger stepped inside his man but instead of applying the after-burners elected to pass inside and the ball eventually went astray.

Calderwood was also inches away from reaching a kick to the corner from Carl Forber which ended going out, touch in goal.

It was all so promising for Town so it was a shock when Doncaster took the lead on 20 minutes. Half backs Paul Cooke and Craig Fawcett linked well and a little kick through was snaffled-up by winger Dennis Tuffour who sped in to score by the posts. Bobby Goulding added the conversion.

Tuffour also had a hand in the second Doncaster try five minutes later. This time when he was presented with a running chance he appeared to be closed in on the touchline but managed to throw the ball back inside for Dan Cowling to score. Goulding was unable to convert.

Town, with some choice words from the coaches at half-time, started the second period at a high tempo and Jarrad Stack forced his way over the home line early on but was unable to ground the ball.

It was Doncaster who scored the third try of the game on 51 minutes when Town were undone on their right flank. Goulding put in a clever grubber on last kick and winger Liam Kay arrived before the cover to get the touchdown.

Doncaster, showing good line speed and cleverly mixing-up the focus of their attacks, were now in control and they increased their lead after 61 minutes.

Some poor Town defending contributed as well with Grant Edwards taking Cook’s pass and surging through from ten metres. Goulding converted and at 20-0 we were back to where the Championship play-off tie had finished. This time there was worse to come. On 69 minutes prop Brett Waller, the biggest member of the Doncaster pack, used all his strength to bulldoze his way through the Town tacklers and make the line. Goulding again converted.

To their credit Town finished gamely and after James Coyle and Callum Phillips had linked well a long pass from the former Seaton amateur ended with Patrick ploughing over in the corner.

Carter took on kicking duties, with Carl Forber having been replaced, but his touchline attempt came back off the post.

Workington Town: Carter, Patrick, Hulme, Morris, Calderwood, Lupton, Forber, Dowes, C. Phillips, Walne, B. Phillips, Stack, Olstrum. Subs (all used) Coyle, Thackray, Acton, Gore.

Try: Patrick (76 mins).

Doncaster: Waterman, Tuffour, Cowling, Clare, Kay, Cooke, Fawcett, Carbutt, Kesick, Waller, Kelly, Spurr, Goulding. Subs (all used) Robinson, Emmett, Edwards, Trout.

Tries: Tuffour (20), Kay (25), Cowling (51), Edwards (62), Waller (69). Goals: Goulding (3/5).

Referee: Thierry Alberi, France

Crowd: 676

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