Old Brodleians gained their first away win in Yorkshire One since later September when Jay Dahlinger’s last-gasp try gave them a 20-18 win at Bradford Salem yesterday.
The hooker plunged over following a lineout near the home line to give Brods a double after a 35-17 home success and keep them fifth in the table.
The Hipperholme club have a good record at Shay Lane but they needed to show real character to wrestle victory from their fourth-from-bottom hosts.
The home side bossed early territory and possession and Brods had to be solid in defence against some strong running from the Salem back line.
Normally accurate fullback Danny Belcher missed a penalty for Salem but made amends with a powerful run past defenders before passing to Nick Fontaine, who touched down for the first score. Belcher converted to make it 7-0 on 15 minutes.
Brods’ response was immediate as they worked their way into the Salem 22 and scored a try straight from the training ground. Danny Cole and Matt Carbutt worked the position for Phil Town to break the defensive line and power through to finish in fine style between the sticks. Town converted.
Salem soon regained the lead when right winger Martin Bokiss showed good pace and rounded Matty Hoyle to touch down in the corner. The conversion was missed but it was 12-7 after 20 minutes.
The Woodhead boys rose to the challenge and with a sustained period of pressure declined two kickable penalties, preferring to scrummage.
The gamble paid off as Chris Vine used great footwork and strength on the left to score a hard earned try and put the sides level again at 12-12.
In the closing seconds Belcher nudged Salem ahead again with a penalty to crown a pulsating half between two evenly matched sides.
Brods held a territorial advantage after the break but were unable to break down the home defence.
Brods did create an opportunity down the left but Hoyle was penalised and received a yellow card.
Brods continued to press and the engagements became more feisty, resulting in Town kicking a penalty to make it 15-15.
When Salem also had a player yellow carded the teams were numerically equal.
Mistakes were increasing in the difficult conditions and Brods conceded a penalty which Belcher dispatched to give Salem the lead again.
As the game moved into injury time Brods never-say-die attitude won the day. Desperately defending their own line, they won a turnover and moved the ball right where there was a clear overlap. Town took advantage with a break of 40 metres before feeding Hoyle, who made further ground into the Salem half.
Salem conceded a penalty at the ensuing tackle and ruck and Cole kicked to touch within 10 metres of the Salem line. From the lineout, Brods well-rehearsed drive took them to the line and the ever willing Dahlinger finished the job. The conversion was missed and there was no time for the restart.
Victory puts the Hipperholme side in great heart with three challenging fixtures against top four sides at Woodhead over the next three weeks.