Harrogate 28-26 Preston Grasshoppers
A last gasp try from David Doherty saw Preston Grasshoppers lose a closely fought encounter against Harrogate.
The damaging defeat saw Hoppers swap places with their opponents at the foot of National League 2 North.
Hopper’s director of rugby Alan Holmes reflected: “In our last few games we’ve conceded easy points in the first 10 minutes of matches, which is a huge issue.
“This is something we’re going to look at in training and think about starting games stronger.
“The players responded really well in the second-half and we will look at the positives and try to reemphasise and sustain that for longer periods in future games.”
Hoppers found themselves 5-0 down after just 90 seconds when Olly Rosillo raced in for a try.
The full-back ghosted through a poor Hoppers defensive line to dot down.
A Doherty penalty was then followed by a converted try for Jake Brady.
On his 200th Gate appearance, Brady touched down from a driving maul to give the hosts a 15-0 lead.
Hoppers then began to play some decent rugby and put Gate under pressure.
Their resolute defence was finally penetrated when Will Lees crossed the whitewash, finishing off a neat Hoppers line out move.
Hoppers dominated the second-half, scoring 21 points and spending most the half camped in Gate’s twenty-two.
Allen slotted two penalties to make it 18-11, before the score was levelled courtesy of a try from Jack Harrison.
The scum-half went blind from a ruck and darted his way through to leave Allen with a simple conversion.
Hoppers then took the lead thanks to another Allen penalty, and they extended that margin in the 66th minute with a try from Jacob Browne.
Oli Viney’s hopeful cross-field kick was collected by Ally Murray, who offloaded to Browne, and the winger finished well in the corner.
Allen failed to add the extras, but Hoppers deserved to be ahead.
With 10 minutes remaining, Gate built up the phases and began to pressurise Hoppers’ backline.
Doherty’s penalty took the scores to 21-26, and a converted try was all Gate needed to complete the comeback.
In the game’s final play, fly-half Doherty scored and converted under the sticks to send the Rudding Park faithful into uproar, while Hoppers were left distraught with another close defeat.
Harrogate – Rosillo; Barnard, Naylor, Edwards, Giles; Doherty, Matthews; Ward, Larder, Dennis, J. Brady, S. Brady, J. Coser, G. Coser, Harvey.
Replacements – Yorke, Wilson, Parrish, Wickham, Reaveley.
Hoppers – Viney; Browne, Hurst, Woof, Forster; Allen, Harrison; Mabaya, Taylor, Altham, Garrod, Murray, Bramhall, Lees, Proctor.
Replacements – Beaty, Peterson, Roddy, Moulding, Hunt.
Report by Henry Woodsford