Rugby League: Donohue finds gap for Leigh to land Eagles

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Eagles . 6

Leigh. . . . . . . 8

LEIGH got the win they desperately needed to keep their First Division survival hopes alive last night after seizing the initiative in the second half of a match that was typical of the foot of the table, writes Dave Hadfield.

Salford's win over Bradford made it imperative for Leigh to take two points at the Don Valley Stadium and Sheffield now find themselves dropping deeper into the relegation dogfight.

Both sides wasted early approach work with erratic handling. Leigh had the better of the game territorially and spurned the best chance when David Ruane failed to hold a sharp pass from John Pendlebury with the line open.

Sheffield made most of their errors, in an error-strewn first half, closer to their posts. This limited their point-scoring chances to a penalty, that Mark Aston missed.

Once a Sheffield hero, Aston has the crowd on his back these days. He made up for the error, however, by setting up and scoring a try on the half hour. His chip was acrobatically fielded and helped on by Richard Price for Daryl Powell to find the supporting Aston, who scored in the corner.

Aston missed the goal, but added a penalty before half-time to balance one from Duncan Platt.

Sheffield's continued willingness to concede possession kept Leigh on the attack and only Powell's fingertips denied Dean Hanger.

The breakthrough that looked inevitable came when Jason Donohue spotted a gap from 15 yards out and scrambled over, Platt adding the goal.

When Sheffield finally hung on to the ball to mount some pressure, Paul Carr was blocked just short of the line. In the very last minute, Price's pass to Lynton Stott went astray with either player perfectly placed to score.

It would have been an escape the Eagles scarcely deserved and they now face a nervous few weeks with Leigh and Salford breathing down their necks.

Sheffield Eagles: Jack; Sheridan, Powell, Gamson, Stott; Price, Aston; Broadbent (Carr, 75), Cook, Laughton, James (Hughes, 29), McGuire, Carr (Lumb, 47).

Leigh: D Ruane; Platt, Clarke, Hanger, Booth; Gunning, Donohue; Hansen, A Ruane (Collier, 75), Street, Collier (Martin, 63), Baldwin (Rowley, 43), Pendlebury.

Referee: J Holdsworth (Kippax).