By Brandon Reeves
A losing run of three matches ended in dramatic style with the boot of Chris Johnson in Corbridge where Huddersfield’s last-gasp efforts stole a 15-14 win over Tynedale.
Tynedale thought they had won it in the dying moments with their second converted try, but with time seemingly up and the home side in possession, ‘Field fly half Johnson guided the ball home through the driving wind to secure four points.
Conditions meant that whichever team were attacking the club house kicked into the wind. Something Johnson and Jack Maplesden both figured out during the first half after box kicks and exit kicks more often than not swirled for Tynedale lineouts on Huddersfield 22.
Despite having territory for the better part of the half, Tyne struggled for a score against a disciplined ‘Field, having their only advance over the line by Chris Wearmouth ruled out.
But Huddersfield found their footing and adapted to the wet ball and tough wind on the Tyne.
Making inroads with their carrying game, they picked up promising positions but couldn’t find a way around Tynedale, who were resolute themselves.
The only score of the half was Chris Johnson’s first of five penalty kicks, mastering the weather to give his side a slender three-point advantage at the break.
His second kick was in close attendance coming in just under a minute of the second half. This time with the wind at their backs, ‘Field explored their kicking options to more of an extent, with some well-placed nudges.
The early exchanges of the second half saw Tynedale backs to the wall, but they stood firm for the majority and came up with a score after a rare foray into Field 22, and a penalty kick to the corner.
The lineout maul rolled over the line, Liam Carmichael getting the try, Rob Parker converting well.
Now in the last ten minutes, Chris Johnson had two penalty kicks to give his team a five-point lead, which looked like a position of security until Tyne were back at the door.
Cam Kelemeti touched-down a try after Tyne forwards gave the scrum half the opportunity to square the game. Full Back Rob Parker’s kick looked to have won the match, but referee Ben Davis found more time, to Tynedale dismay.
As the hosts looked to see out the game, their hard work was undone after giving away a penalty for not releasing, giving Johnson and Huddersfield the game on a plate.
Despite one in the Tynedale crowd feeling the need to not respect the kicker and shout out during his run-up, Johnson did what he always does, slotting home coolly, cueing the full-time whistle.
Tynedale will feel hard done to by the officiating, but couldn’t use the wind advantage and territory when they had it, and you’d be a brave person to take anything away from Johnson’s performance with the boot.
Head Coach Gareth Lewis spoke of his pride in a performance that showed ‘character’.
“This was a performance full of character. After three consecutive defeats and the way in which we performed last week, we knew we had to improve.
“Chris deserves huge credit for the way he held his nerve but this was a great team effort once again.
“With five games to we are back in the mix and must now focus on South Leicester.”
The hosts hadn’t been defeated at home since September on the opening day, and a nine-match winning run at home has been ended by the Lockwood men who sit fourth after winning their game in hand, just 6 points from the promotion spots.