Reardon try ends Broncos' heroism

London Broncos 12 Bradford Bulls 24
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Bradford took the two points to lift them back to second in Super League, but most of the credit from the match played in atrocious conditions went to a heavily depleted London side that performed beyond any reasonable expectations.

Bradford took the two points to lift them back to second in Super League, but most of the credit from the match played in atrocious conditions went to a heavily depleted London side that performed beyond any reasonable expectations.

Begging and borrowing players from all points of the compass, the injury-ravaged Broncos put up a heroic effort. If they had had a little more of the sort of quality that Dennis Moran displayed, they could have snatched a surprise victory.

A heavy defeat looked inevitable for London when they trailed to three tries in 15 minutes in the first half. Paul Deacon's kicking game was controlling the tempo of the match and it was also his run from Steele Retchless's lost ball that set up the first score. Deacon's initial break ended when he was caught, but he was there moments later to exploit a gap in the London defence and score under the post.

A lost ball also led to the second, scored by Jamie Langley from Deacon's pass and when Leon Pryce went over at the end of a move kept alive by Shontayne Hape's fingertip control and Deacon kicked his second goal, the Bulls appeared to be on their way to an emphatic win.

But the Broncos, with so many key players missing and three newcomers making their debuts, dug deep and there were signs even before half-time - and especially from Moran - that they were not going to roll over meekly.

Nine minutes into the second half, Moran, a player who loves to show his skills in dry conditions, exploited the swamplands near the Bradford try-line by kicking through and then winning the race with three defenders to touch down. Lee Sanderson kicked the goal and further self-belief surged through the Broncos.

Moran's break could have brought a second try if he could have got the ball inside to the supporting Sanderson, but Bradford eased the pressure just before the hour when Deacon and Michael Withers worked an opening for Stuart Reardon.

The Bulls' Great Britain forward, Stuart Fielden, was sent to the sin-bin for taking a swing at David Highton and, almost as soon as he had gone, the Broncos took advantage of the extra man when Moran sent one of their new boys, Dwayne Barker, over with a perfect pass. A stunning result looked just about possible until Reardon's second try, from Withers' well directed kick, 10 minutes from time.

The Broncos' Tony Rea did not accept that the conditions had been a leveller. "We were hoping for a dry track,'' he insisted. "But I knew that the effort would be there, because it always has been this season.''

London Broncos: McNally; Wells, Thomas, Haughey, Greenwood; Barker, Moran; Retchless, Budworth, Trindall, Mbu, Netherton, Hart. Substitutes used: Brocklehurst, Highton, Sanderson, Stringer.

Bradford Bulls: Withers; Reardon, Johnson, Hape, Andy Smith; Pryce, Deacon; Anderson, Paul, Parker, Langley, Peacock, Swann. Substitutes used: Bridge, Radford, Vagana, Fielden.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

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