Discipline rocks depleted Old Albanian in Plymouth loss
PUBLISHED: 13:44 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:46 20 December 2017
A sending off for Old Albanian's Craig Dowsett and yellow cards for Jack Daly and Charlie Hughes left them a man down at critical moments - and Plymouth Albion took full advantage, claiming 19 of their total points in the 26-8 victory.
In total OAs played for just over 30 minutes with 14 men in what was a bad-tempered game but it will be galling for the visitors to have conceded so many in situations of their own making.
The opening stages, however, were relatively incident-free as both sides sounded each other out.
The hosts struck first, James Salter being driven over by almost the entirety of the home side, Dan Mugford adding the conversion.
Daly’s yellow came for an indiscretion on the ground after 28 minutes and Mugford strolled over for a try following a strong Plymouth scrum.
As Daly returned, Hughes took his place, apparently for backchat and half-time arrived with Albanian trailing 12-0.
This became 19 five minutes after the restart when a penalty try followed an unbalanced scrum.
Albanians seemed to settle down at this point and their best 20 minutes followed.
Tom Bednall opened the visitors’ account 12 minutes into the half with a penalty but the Plymouth defence appeared to strengthen visibly, particularly in midfield.
Nonetheless Jason Billows charged over after a smart and continued Albanian thrust on the right.
But with 11 minutes to go Dowsett departed the fray for an off-the-ball incident and, even though it took 10 minutes more, Dan Pullinger scored the bonus-point try for Mugford to convert at the death.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Scrum and line-out went well and the side was combative in broken play. The defence needs a little more power but the kicking game was generally good.
Albanian have the ability and opportunity to improve, particularly as they are only just at the half-way mark of the season.
But all of this presupposes 15 men stay on the field.