Albion suffer defeat in Jersey
Jersey…16 Plymouth Albion…14
PLYMOUTH Albion suffered a fifth successive defeat when they were beaten on their first trip to Jersey.
Albion, cheered on by around 200 travelling fans, led at half-time and were 10-14 up with 10 minutes to go thanks to an Aaron Carpenter try and nine points from the boot of Paul Roberts, but Jersey won the game with two late Michael Le Bourgeois penalties.
The visitors did have a drop-goal attempt late on to try to rescue the game but it was charged down and Jersey finished the match on the attack.
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The win was only Jersey's second in the Championship, but it has moved them off the foot of the table, whereas Albion, who did pick up a losing bonus point, have dropped down to sixth in the standings and could fall further on Sunday if Bristol beat Nottingham.
Albion made just one change to their starting line-up that lost to Nottingham at home the previous week, with fit-again prop Luke Cowan-Dickie replacing David Morton in the front-row.
Jersey kept the same side that earned their first league win of the season the week before against London Scottish.
Cheered on by an impressive number of supporters, Albion made a nightmare start.
They attacked from kick-off but in the fourth minute they had a pass intercepted 15 metres out from the try line and Jersey went right up the other end and scored through pacy winger James Copsey.
Michael Le Bourgeois added the conversion to put the Islanders 7-0 up.
But after that it was all Albion for the next 30 minutes.
Jack Arnott and Aaron Carpenter both came close to scoring before Albion were awarded a penalty 22 metres out in the 10th minute.
The visitors went for goal, but Roberts missed.
In the 13th minute Lewis Warner thought he had scored his first competitive try for Albion when he went over in the right corner but his effort was ruled out for an earlier knock on.
However, from the resultant scrum, Albion got a penalty and went for a lineout before getting another penalty, which Roberts this time put over to make it 7-3.
And Albion took the lead in the 20th minute. From a penalty in their own half, Roberts brilliantly found touch 10 metres out and from the line-out Albion drove over with Carpenter, playing his final match before going away on international duty, getting the ball down.
Roberts could not add the conversion but Albion were 8-7 up.
That became 10-7 when Roberts kicked another penalty on 30 minutes.
Albion had dominated the first half but in the final five minutes Jersey got back into the game.
Number eight Guy Thompson made a great break which resulted in Ed Dawson nearly scoring. Albion did well to keep them out during that attack by the home side.
But Jersey, who had the sun and wind in their faces first half, were beginning to see a bit more ball and just before half-time they closed the gap to just one point when Le Bourgeois kicked a penalty from 22 metres out.
A one-point advantage was little reward for all Albion's territory.
After the interval Albion, playing into the wind, increased their lead to four points with a Roberts penalty, but after that Jersey came to life.
The home side started demolishing Albion in the scrums and they always looked dangerous with their catch-and-drive moves. That appeared the best way they were going to score a second try.
And it looked like they were going to do so in the 63rd minute from a five-metre line-out but Albion pulled their drive down on the line and the referee only gave Jersey a penalty when it could have easily have been a penalty try or a sin-binning. The home side, who had been fortunate not to have a player sin-binned in the first half, went for another line-out but Albion stopped the drive legally this time and eventually turned the Islanders over.
But Jersey were growing in confidence and nine minutes from the end of normal time they got a penalty in front of the posts, which Le Bourgeois put over to make it 14-13.
Albion nearly went straight up the other end and scored but they were turned over on the line by Jersey.
And, with three minutes to go, Jersey got the penalty that they wanted after Albion had lost possession again.
Le Bourgeois stepped up to take the kick as the crowd fell silent. It was a relatively simple kick but there was a lot of pressure on Jersey's fly-half to put it over. However, he did manage to put it between the uprights to edge his side two points in front.
Albion did go straight up the other end and attacked and Roberts went for a drop-goal but it was charged down.
Jersey finished the game on the front foot and were awarded two late penalties, but chose not to kick either and just saw the game out.
Albion now have two home games in a row against London Scottish and Bristol.
Jersey: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 James Copsey, 13 Donovan Sanders, 12 Ashley Maggs, 11 Ed Dawson, 10 Michael le Bourgeois, 9 Brendan O'Brien, 1 Sean McCarthy, 2 Steve Boden, 3 James Gethings, 4 Robert Anderson, 5 Nathan Hannay (capt), 6 Paul Rodgers, 7 Kingsley Lang, 8 Guy Thompson. Reps: David Felton, Richard Barrington, Joe Brennan, Dave Markham, James Voss, Barry Davies, Nicky Griffiths.
Albion: 15 Henry Slade, 14 Lewis Warner, 13 Paul Bailey, 12 Bevon Armitage, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Paul Roberts, 1 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 2 Jon Vickers, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 5 Sean-Michael Stephen (capt), 6 Sam Hocking, 7 Wayne Sprangle, 8 Aaron Carpenter. Reps: Ruairi Cushion, Keni Fisilau, David Morton, Jack Andrew, Tom Cowan-Dickie, Rupeni Nasiga, Harrison Tovey.
Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU)