Lineham Leaves It Late

A left winger who divides opinion, is prone to the odd mishap and isn’t highly rated by some observers made the headlines in Warrington on Saturday with an eye-catching performance.

Jeremy Corbyn was in town, too.

Alright, you think of a better one?

Yet again, the Wire made hard fucking work of it.

Yet again, it was an appalling game of rugby to watch.

Yet again, we came up with the points.

Alright, we looked dangerous in parts, especially when the ball was in the hands of Stefan Ratchford, who played pivotal part in all our tries.

But fucking hell we were shite.

After grinding out victories against Widnes and Leeds by keeping it tight and simple, we seem to have abandoned that tactic now and reverted back to throwing balls out of arses, forcing passes and trying to spread it wide before we have gone forward.

We were given an Easter blessing from the fixture computer this year, playing the other three worst teams in the league in succession.

If we had played anybody else in the league over the past eight days, we would have had our arse handed to us playing how we have.

However, as it is, we travel to the UK City of Culture 2017 next week unbeaten in five matches and having seemingly learnt how to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

And none of us would have thought that a month ago when the Airlie Birds (honestly, that is their nickname. Look it up) came to the HJ, would we?

Anyway, trailing by two points – having somehow forced our way back into the game – with two minutes on the clock, the ball was shifted from right to left with seemingly nothing on.

The effervescent Westerman straightened up, took it to the line and shifted it on to Patton who found Ratchford.

With a three-on-one in his favour, Ratchford did what he does so well and selected the right ball, with a pinpoint spin pass that found Lineham with enough room to race home and dive in at the corner.

The moment the game swung our way was probably when, at 20-6 down, Chris Hill put in the clichéd ‘captain’s knock’, feigning a tip on, putting a bit of footwork on at the line and barging over from short range, despite the attentions of at least four Wakefield defenders.

It turned the sense of resignation to defeat into a feeling of ‘game on’.

It wasn’t a deserved victory, but it is these types of victories that we have struggled to come up with in recent years.

We’ve come to expect us putting big scores past teams in those sorts of conditions, but so often being on the wrong end of tight results when things haven’t gone our way.

Flat track bullies, if you like.

So if there is to be any positives at all from this first part of the season, it has to be that the team has learned to deal with adversity.

Ashley Gibson had opened the scoring for Wakefield after five minutes, pouncing on Kyle Wood’s grubber on the last tackle.

No panic, this happens every week and in the last month, we’ve been able to come back from it.

Their lead was doubled five minutes later when some neat, short passing around the ruck saw Wakefield break downfield and Mason Caton-Brown was the recipient of the final pass to stroll in.

It was arguably the best bit of rugby both teams put together all game, though it was run close by the little bit of hands that saw Ratchford slip a short pass to Atkins for his try.

He had just seen a try chalked off for being offside from a kick, but burst onto Ratch’s ball deep inside our own half and charge downfield, typically ignoring his winger and instead bumping off Max Jowitt to romp home and touch down.

A good full back would have probably stopped that try and Atkins would have looked a bit of a twat for not putting Lineham away, but what do we always say?

Fuck ‘em.

A penalty goal before half-time nudged Wakey a further two points ahead then Tom Johnstone opened the scoring after the break when Jacob Miller’s long pass found him with acres of space out wide and our defence just gave up, allowing him to walk in and even touch down closer to the sticks to make the conversion easier for Finn.

Then as the clock ticked down Chris Hill barged his way over and, as we said, probably turned the momentum of the game our way.

On the back of a great Westerman break with ten minutes to go, Kevin Brown sold a dummy and strolled in to reduce the gap further and Patton’s conversion brought us to within two points.

Then with two minutes left, Lineham dived over in the corner to snatch the win.

 

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