Eton Manor edge another step closer to the London 1 North title with 24-15 victory over Romford and Gidea Park

Eton Manor try scorer Michael Eghan. Picture: Martin Pearl

Eton Manor try scorer Michael Eghan. Picture: Martin Pearl

First published in Football

Eton Manor drew one step closer to the London 1 North league title with a hard-fought 24-15 victory over Romford and Gidea Park.

With four matches to play Manor remain a point ahead of Westcliff, who also won to keep the pressure on at the top of the table.

Romford & Gidea Park are tenth in the 14-team league and this was a game Manor would have expected to win.

Manor were first to open the scoring as a blindside break by scrum-half Nick Horton made 20 metres before offloading to winger Reece Reed.

Reed cut back inside the oncoming defence and crossed the line for the try. Callum McKie was just off target with the conversion but Eton Manor led 5-0 after 15 minutes.

Soon after, Manor were soon back on the attack, with a strong break from Kevin Reed, who made 25 metres from his own half, before the Romford full-back gathered his chip.

From the resulting set piece, strong defence from Stephen Ross forced a knock-on close to Manor’s try line, allowing Manor to clear the ball.

However, Manor were susceptible to the Romford counterattack and a handling error allowed the visitors to move the ball wide and cross the line at a canter.

With the conversion successful, Manor were behind 7-5.

Manor responded well, and a long clearance kick from McKie pressured Romford into conceding a line-out in their own 22.

Ian Edwards secured the ball, and the resulting driving maul was pulled down short of the line illegally by a Romford prop, who received a yellow card.

Manor started the second half strongly, and from a turnover ball, centres Alex Hunter and Will Mowbray combined to release Michael Eghan, who powered through three tackles to score, with McKie kicking the conversion.

Shortly afterwards, Romford levelled the scoring.

A scrum-half break resulting from a series of drives from the forwards led to an unconverted try, leaving the score at 12-12.

A penalty put Romford 15-12 ahead, before a well worked Stephen Ross try put the league leaders back in front, with McKie narrowly missing the conversion.

From the restart, Manor kept the pressure on, and won a lineout in Romford’s 22. The driving maul made yards before the ball reached Chris Jones, who fed Eghan for the fourth try and all important bonus point.

With McKie successful with the conversion, Manor now held a match-winning 24-15 lead, which they carried to full time.

Manor's next two matches are against the bottom two sides in the league as they travel to Old Haberdashers on Saturday before hosting Diss the week after.

There are tougher tests to come however as Manor face trips to third-placed Luton and then fifth-placed Ruislip on the last day of the season.

Neighbours Chingford were unable to do Manor a favour as they were beaten 57-6 away to Westcliff.

Chingford had managed to beat the title contenders in the reverse fixture earlier this season but there was never really much hint of a repeat on Saturday as Westcliff ran in eight tries.

Sitting sixth in the table and now five points behind Romford, Chingford take on Letchworth Garden City on Saturday.

Woodford were not in action last weekend.

They play Colchester at home on Saturday.

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