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Sin-bin blow is costly for lowly Tigers
9:00am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
SEDGLEY Tigers manager Geoff Roberts believes his side was unlucky with the sin-binning which put a severe dent in their survival bid last weekend.
The Whitefield men suffered a demoralising last-gasp defeat at the hands of Old Albanians at Park Lane on Saturday.
But the two bonus points gained in their 39-38 defeat means they have closed the gap on the safety zone in National League One from 15 to 13 points.
That was no consolation for the Tigers who looked to be romping to victory at 21-5 up after 20 minutes and 35-17 ahead after 51 minutes.
Old Albanians fought back to 35-29 when Sedgley had Richard Oxley yellow-carded for foul play.
During his 10 minutes in the sin bin, Matt Riley initially stretched the lead to 38-29 with a drop goal before two Old Albanians tries in the 74th and 76th minutes sentenced Tigers to another defeat.
Sedgley manager Geoff Roberts said: “If it was a yellow card, fair enough, although people over in that area of the ground said it was nothing.
“But they should have had a yellow card as well.
“Our man got punched and it didn’t get picked up, and one of our players got taken out in the air when he jumped and nothing came of it.”
Those last four minutes were the only time in the game that the visitors were leading apart from when they took a 5-0 lead with a try in the fifth minute.
Jamie Harrison levelled up the scores five minutes later and scored another try.
Steve Collins, Andrew Riley and John Bishop also scored tries, with Matt Riley converting five out of five as well as his drop goal.
Tigers must pick themselves up when they go to second-placed Blaydon on Saturday, and Roberts has no doubts they will do so.
“It was heartbreaking to lose the way we did,” he said. “It was one of the best games of rugby I have seen here for ages.
“Both teams were playing expansive rugby, and that meant there were holes that we could not defend when we were a man down.
“I don’t know how we could lose from the position we were in. We deserved to win and even their guys said the best team lost.
“We’re absolutely gutted but if that had been the first game of the season we would have been saying it was going to be a good season.
“The good thing is the effort is always there.”