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Pirates undone by injury-time kick

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

Ben Maidment scores the first try for Cornish Pirates against London Scottish on Saturday picture: Garry Bowden/Pinnacle

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Phil Godman's injury-time penalty for London Scottish shattered the Cornish Pirates l as the Exiles completed a second-half comeback to snatch victory at the death.

The former Scotland international fly-half kept his cool to land a 40-metre kick with the final action of a gripping RFU Championship contest at the Athletic Ground, leaving the Pirates without a win in their last four games.

The Pirates' assistant coach, Harvey Biljon, was left clearly annoyed by the result after the Pirates had relinquished their first-half domination.

Three first-half tries and some fine incisive rugby propelled them into a 21-10 lead at the break. But they failed to maintain that intensity in the second period, allowing the Scots to score two more tries in a 25-24 win.

Biljon said: "It was very disappointing and frustrating, and it hurts even more when it is taken away on the last play of the game. From one minute we were going for a win with a bonus point and then it turned and we lost with just a losing bonus point. It's very tough to take right now."

The Pirates made two late changes to their squad, with Ben Mercer and on-loan Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga replaced by Paul Andrew and Tom Cheeseman.

Scottish flanker Chevvy Pennycook saw yellow in the second minute for killing the ball just short of the home try-line and, although Kieran Hallett missed the penalty, the Pirates kept up the offensive.

With the home scrum already faltering, the Pirates nicked a set-piece turnover on the Scottish ten-metre line, rampaging downfield as Chris Morgan and then Tom Bedford set up Ben Maidment.

Hallett converted but this proved the catalyst for the Scots and they earned a try through Pennycook. Former Plymouth Albion full-back James Love converted to level.

Hallett missed again with a penalty and Junior Fatialofa went close to scoring a second Pirates try, before their domination in the scrum finally earned them a penalty try after the home pack had been shunted over their own line three times in a row.

Love reduced the arrears to four with a penalty on 36 minutes before another sweeping Pirates attack set up full-back Jack Nowell to hold off three tacklers to dot down in the corner. Hallett converted.

Ending the first half on such a high, the Pirates looked set to kick on in the second period and make the game safe. It never happened.

The introduction of former Pirate and London Welsh loanee Simon Whatling into the Scottish midfield gave them a spark of creativity, while former Redruth talisman Mark Bright broke free of his first-half shackles.

Bright had set up Miles Mantella for a simple try within two minutes of the restart only for the unopposed wing to drop the ball, before Hallett's penalty nosed the Pirates into a 24-10 lead on 54 minutes.

Then, from the restart, Bright skipped through three poor tackle attempts in midfield before offloading to Pennycook for his second try, converted by Godman.

Centre Jim Thompson was denied a score moments later by a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Nowell, but in the second minute of added time Bright sniped around the blindside of a ruck on the Pirates' line to score.

Godman missed the touchline conversion but, trailing by two, Scottish refused to panic.

When the Pirates turned over possession deep in the home 22, the Scots drove downfield through multiple phases before earning a penalty just over halfway. This time, Godman made no mistake.

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