Preston Grasshoppers 24-25 Scunthorpe
Preston Grasshoppers lost their seventh match in a row in dramatic circumstances after Tom Foster’s converted try sealed a last-play victory for Scunthorpe at Lightfoot Green.
Hoppers were 24-18 ahead going into the game’s final stages, but Scunthorpe captain Foster scored under the sticks to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for the visitors.
Hoppers head coach Garth Dew reflected: “There’s an inability to learn from our mistakes. We lost away at Harrogate earlier in the season in identical circumstances, and today we had multiple chances to close the game out and we haven’t done that.
“There’s a handful of players who are happy to do their own thing and are hurting the team with their ill discipline. From now on I’ll only be picking lads who want to buy into what us as coaches are asking them to do, and I’ll be making changes for Otley at home next week.”
Five penalties – three for Lewis Allen and two from Scunthorpe’s Stephen Johnson – put Hoppers 9-6 ahead in a cagey opening quarter, but Scunthorpe rallied in the half’s final 10 minutes to lead at the break.
They scored two tries from driving mauls, the first coming from Oliver Cole after Hoppers hooker Chris Taylor was yellow carded for being deliberately offside.
Right on half-time, James Dyson dotted down for the visitors’ second, which Stephen Johnson converted to give Scunthorpe a 9-18 advantage.
Hoppers came flying out of the blocks after the break and regained the lead with two tries of their own.
First, Niall Crosley sold a dummy which gave him enough space to run in unopposed for a well taken score, with Allen adding the extras.
On 50 minutes, Sam Gale crashed over from a driving maul to make the scores 21-18, with the hosts camped inside Scunthorpe’s twenty-two.
Allen slotted another penalty to give Hoppers a six-point gap going into the final stages, but after Scunthorpe took a quick tap penalty, Foster picked up from the base of a ruck and went straight through Hoppers’ woeful defence to score under the sticks, with Phil Mills being sent off after the whistle for verbally insulting the referee.
Words by Henry Woodsford, photo by Mike Craig