Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat
Seventh placed Chester visited Heywood Road on Saturday looking to put a major dent in Sale’s promotion ambitions and from the kick off, the men in red were on the front foot.
After only four minutes, they found a gap in the home side’s defence with the number 5 eventually scoring in the corner and the fly half, James Robins, adding a fine conversion.
Sale responded almost immediately with Chris Johnson bisecting the posts with a penalty and they then took the lead. Tom Ailes and Sam Stelmaszek made good ground initially before the forwards pummelled the try line and Dan Birchall crashed over for a trademark try.
Rather than having a detrimental effect on the visitors’ morale, this stung them into a quick and positive response as they twice kicked to the corner from penalties and scored tries, the blue and whites failing to stop strong rolling mauls on both occasions.
Chris Johnson kicked another penalty in between those two scores but Sale ended the half under severe pressure and down to fourteen men as Adam Aigbokhae was shown a yellow card.
HT Sale 13 Chester 21
With the away side fully deserving their half time lead, Sale needed to start the second half strongly and they did just that. Jake Pope, on as a replacement, made a bulldozing run to open up the red’s defence and the ball was then thrown wide for Jack Moorhouse to score on his 201stappearance for the club.
Again, this did not deter the men from Chester who pulverised the Sale try line for several minutes, although this time the home side held firm, much to the relief of the sizeable home support.
With ten minutes remaining and their long winning run under severe threat, the hosts put everything into a sustained spell of pressure and, just as Chester looked to have survived, three players combined to charge down an attempted clearance with Jake Barron pouncing on the loose ball to score.
The lead was extended to nine points late on when Chris Johnson opted to kick for the posts from another penalty and this proved to be a wise decision as Chester scored a fourth try in the final minute.
FT Sale 30 Chester 28
As the coaches said afterwards, this was a fantastic game to watch from a neutral perspective but an absolute nightmare from their point of view. Chester fully deserved their two bonus points and had a right to feel disappointed at the final whistle. As for Sale, they dug deep yet again to make sure that their destiny remains in their own hands with a maximum of 15 points now required from the last four games.
- Chester are the first team this season to put four tries past Sale FC (home or away)
- This is the biggest score against Sale FC at Heywood Road since we lost to Caldy (26-38) in December 2016
- This is the highest number of points we have conceded in a game this season (home or away)
- Only 2 teams have scored more points against us since September 2016
- South Leicester (39pts) 24th Sep 2016
- Caldy (38pts) 3rd Dec 2016
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