REPORT: Ealing Trailfinders 1st XV 28 – 27 Southend

Ealing kept their hopes of promotion alive with another game that went to the wire. After last week’s loss to Barking with the last kick of the match, it was Ealing’s turn to win in the dying seconds with drop goal from scrum half Morgan Thompson.

Southend are a strong side and were always going to be a tough side to beat at their home ground. They stated the first half strongly and put Ealing under  a lot of pressure. After 20  minutes that pressure turned into points as Southend found an overlap and full back Simon Hoult ran through for a try that he successfully converted.

Ealing went further behind when an inside pass found Southend centre Chris Vaughan crashing through for another 7 points.

At 14-0 down, Ealing fought back hard and immediately scored wide through Owen Bruynseels from the kick off. The ball bounced loose and was fly hacked towards the Southend line. Bruynseels is rarely bested in a foot race and scored close to the posts to allow scrum-half Thompson to bring the scores to 14-7.

Southend returned to pressing the Ealing defwence and scored a third try on 35 minutes through fly-half Phillip Ellis.

Ealing refused to lie down and forced play close to the Southend line. A penalty against Southend saw Ealing opt for a scrum. The penalty count against Southend was mounting, and at the scrum Ealing pressure was too much and the referee Paul Kimber ran under the posts to signal the penalty try.

Ealing went into half time at 21-14 down knowing a better second-half performance was needed to keep their title hopes alive.

Fitness has been a strength of the Ealing side this year, and it is the second half when fitness really counts.

Ealing started the second half powerfully, and scored via a trademark cross field kick that Bruynseels gathered. Now the scores were almost level at 21-19 the game became more tense. No more tires would be scored, but penalties to both sides pushed the score to 27-25 to Southend with just four minutes on the clock.

Finally Ealing scrum half saw his opportunity and sent the winning drop goal over the posts to win the match and break the hearts of Southend who had put up a real fight.