Leeds unbeaten but unhappy with late Prescott penalty

Leeds 10 Hull 10
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A contentious last-minute penalty kicked by Steve Prescott made Hull the second team this season to escape from Headingley with a draw, as Leeds maintained their unbeaten Super League record.

There were less than 30 seconds left when the referee, Steve Ganson, penalised Francis Cummins for picking up the ball from an offside position after Keith Senior had interrupted Hull's final attack by knocking down a pass. Leeds were adamant that there had been a Hull hand in between, which should have negated the penalty. "He made the wrong decision,'' said the Leeds coach, Daryl Powell. Some decisions he plucks from the stars.''

His opposite number, Shaun McRae, admitted that his side might have got the rub of the green, but argued that a line-up ravaged by injury deserved to take something from the game.

On top of their existing injury list, they lost Tony Smith with a badly broken leg, which will probably put him out for the rest of the season.

Before his injury, Smith's contribution included a 40-20 kick that gave Hull possession from a scrum, with Paul Cooke, Richard Horne, and Sean Ryan all handling smoothly in treacherous conditions to send Colin Best over in the corner. Prescott, playing his 100th game for the club, landed the difficult conversion from the touchline and added a penalty, this time for a straightforward offside, midway through the half.

It was to the credit of a Hull side rapidly running out of players that they kept Leeds scoreless throughout the first half. The Rhinos were oddly sluggish and the nearest they came was when Cummins failed to touch down cleanly from David Furner's well-judged kick.

Hull held on until eight minutes into the second half, when Leeds' weight of possession finally wore them down. Kevin Sinfield's kick slithered along the try line and Willie Poching was able to force it down.

On the hour mark, a storming run from Matt Adamson drew in the Hull defence and Matt Diskin and Sinfield released Chris McKenna to score the second Leeds try. Sinfield, such an inspired kicker on his day, could not land either conversion, although both were from inviting positions. He could hardly miss, however, when Chris Chester retaliated at a play-the-ball to leave him with a shot from right in front of the sticks to put the Rhinos in the lead for the first time.

Even with such a slender advantage, their grip on the game looked increasingly secure until Hull mounted one last assault and got the benefit of the referee's decision. "We'll take the penalty,'' said McRae. "Experience tells me to cop it whichever way it goes. To come here and get a draw with the team we had available was a tremendous effort.''

Wigan were rightly praised when they shared the points with Leeds with a team full of young reserves a couple of weeks ago. Whatever the rights or wrongs of last night's late decision, Hull's effort was just as worthy.

Leeds: Connolly; Calderwood, McKenna, Senior, Cummins; Dunemann, McGuire; Bailey, Diskin, McDermott, Furner, Poching, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Burrow, Adamson, Jones-Buchanan, McDonald.

Hull: R Horne; Best, Yeaman, Kohe-Love, Prescott; Cooke, T Smith; Greenhill, Treister, King, Maher, Ryan, Chester. Substitutes used: Carvell, G Horne, Last, Donkin.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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