Thornhill TroJAns produced an improved performance but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 26-24 defeat at home to Thatto Heath Crusaders in the National Conference Premier Division last Saturday.
There was a sombre mood on an emotional day at Overthorpe back as Thornhill resumed their fixtures following the recent passing of player Martyn Holland.
The club had also received news that club stalwart Tony Ridley had also passed away and a minute’s silence which preceded kick off was observed impeccably.
Despite the sombre mood the Trojans showed a marked improvement and until the final moments were in front but in the final 10 minutes they totally imploded as their discipline went out of the window.
Three Thornhill players were sent off as they ended the game with 10 men and lost to a late penalty goal.
Thornhill played with composure and put together some good attacking moves with the return of man-of-the-match Joel Gibson and Will Gledhill to the starting line-up key factors.
Danny Ratcliffe’s pass put George Stott on a rampaging run. He was eventually hauled down but the momentum was maintained.
Jake Wilson combined with Jake Ratcliffe who in turn put Gledhill over for a try. Gibson converted.
Thatto Heath were denied by an amazing tackle from Luke Haigh, who held the attacker on his back over the line.
Gibson broke from halfway to set up another Thornhill attack and George Woodcock put Nick Mitchell racing over for an unconverted try.
Thatto Heath scored against the run of play before half-time as Jack Jones put a kick into the in goal area and Corey Lee pounced to score. Bobbie Goulding converted.
Thornhill got off to a great start in the second half. Thatto Heath lost the ball and Thornhill worked play the full length of the field for Mitchell to score his second try of the game. Gibson converted.
This try was cancelled out when Thatto Heath substitute Brad Ashurst barged over by the posts and Jones converted.
Thornhill responded perfectly when Matthew Tebb went on a glorious solo run to go over for a try which Gibson converted.
But then the game suddenly changed. There was a late challenge by Thatto’s Jamie Tracey on Thornhill’s Jake Wilson.
Gibson objected to what he had witnessed and Tracey ended up poleaxed on the ground.
Tracey was sin-binned and Gibson was shown a red card.
Thornhill were awarded a penalty and Woodcock kicked the goal to make it 24-12 with just over 10 minutes left to play.
However, the mood of the game had changed and Thornhill seemed to capitulate.
After a series of penalties against Thornhill, Casey Johnson was sin binned following a team warning.
With Thornhill down to 11 men Ashurst ran for the posts and twisted his way over. Jones converted.
Ashurst then barged his way over for his third try and Jones converted to make it 24-24.
Tempers again boiled over as players rushed in with Thatto’s Matty Norton sent off for punching and Casey Johnson also shown a red card for entering the field while still in the sin bin.
Woodcock was also shown a red card for speaking out of turn to the referee before Goulding kicked the penalty goal to seal a dramatic victory for the visitors.