Top spot lost at rainy Aspatria

Aspatria 13 Fleetwood RU 6

FLEETWOOD suffered defeat and lost top spot in the North Lancs and Cumbria table on a wet and weary afternoon.

Despite coping with standing water from the start, Fleetwood started well, with their rolling maul working effectively, and the pressure resulted in a penalty by Ryan Riches to open the scoring after 10 minutes.

However, Aspatria responded with a penalty from their first attack to level the scores.

Fleetwood again pressured the Aspatria line, but could not produce the killer blow to score, despite their rolling maul going close on numerous occasions.

Riches’ drop goal attempt missed by inches, and Kris Phillips was held just short of the line.

Aspatria managed to break out of their half and took the lead with a second penalty.

Just before the interval, Kris Phillips made space down the left and sent player/coach Roger Banks racing in for a try, but play was pulled back for a forward pass, meaning Fleetwood trailed 6-3 at half-time.

Heavy rain in the second half made flowing rugby difficult, and there were few scoring chances for either side.

Rob Brookfield was forced off with a damaged hand, but replacement Dale Thompson made an immediate impact with some excellent tackles.

Dan Maher and Craig Cowley ran strongly for the visitors, but Aspatria broke through Fleetwood’s stubborn defence to score the only try on the hour.

The error count rose in worsening conditions, but the only addition to the scoring, despite eight minutes of stoppage time, was a second Riches penalty, which at least secured a bonus point for Fleetwood.