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Eton Manor 11 Romford 8

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Romford must be sick of the sight of Eton Manor and Callum McKie in particular as, for the second time this season, they dominated their opponents for 60 minutes only to be sent packing by a late comeback from the home side and McKie’s last-ditch drop-goal clincher, writes Dave Evans.

Romford started much the brighter with Manor not helped by early injuries to full-back Huw Lewis and Tryson Goodchild, but despite their dominance they could not convert it into points and Manor took advantage when Ben Thomas made inroads into their 22, won a penalty and slotted it over himself.

Romford hit back to pin Manor in their own half and after they had been constantly penalised by a referee who missed too many things from both sides on the day, the visitors equalised with a kick of their own.

Manor almost scored straight from the restart when Michael Eghan was first to the loose ball, only for his handling to let him down with the line at his mercy.

And when another dropped ball gave Romford back possession they ploughed forward and eventually their prop stormed over the line to give them a deserved 8-3 lead.

Thomas missed a chance to reduce the deficit, only to miss a penalty and after the break it was still Romford in the ascendancy.

They thought they had added another try when their winger stormed towards the corner, but Eghan sprinted back to make a superb last-ditch tackle by putting the Romford man into touch.

David Hanna was sin-binned but perhaps the crucial moment came when the visitors decided to go for a try rather than adding another three points – it proved to be the wrong decision.

Manor won a penalty and they seemed to be revitalised as Alex Hunter and Chris Jones stormed forward to get within 10 metres of the Romford line.

The visitors missed another good opportunity to score, but as the game wore on it was Manor’s fitness that was beginning to tell and despite a Thomas missed penalty, there was better news just around the corner.

Eghan, out on the wing, set off upfield and evaded a host of would-be tacklers before offloading to Riaan Shield who stormed in to touch down for the try.

Thomas missed the conversion and then another penalty, but with time running out came the vital moment in the match.

They say that lightning never strikes twice but, just as he had in the game at Romford, McKie was to come up trumps.

Horton claimed a clean, quick ball and with McKie in the pocket it was spun back to him for him to split the uprights with a superb drop goal.

With 2012 coming to a close, Manor find themselves in second place in the league and at times have played some excellent rugby with notable victories against Diss, Colchester and Letchworth.

Their first game of 2013 will be a trip to Basildon.

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