Defence earns Titans victory

Titans' Colin Quigleyis tackled by Nottingham's Ryan Hough
Titans' Colin Quigleyis tackled by Nottingham's Ryan Hough
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Rock-hard defence by Rotherham throughout the second half at Clifton Lane made certain that a sixth league win in the Championship was achieved, but the Titans came close to losing for the third game in succession.

They were reprieved several times by Nottingham who would have won if they had taken the 17 points on offer.

However, astonishingly, their goal kickers missed six attempts at the posts, five penalties and a conversion, which would have been enough to leave with a win.

The fact that Nottingham were given so many scoring opportunities was down to Rotherham’s indiscipline; whether the referee got it right or not,the point is that the Titans were penalised on 19 occasions.

As Titans’ coach Lee Blackett, who is now preparing his team for this Friday’s league game at Plymouth, explained: “We gave away so many penalties and that is unacceptable and we now have to work on our discipline.”

Nottingham, dominating possession and territory from start to finish in the second half, will be wondering why they were incapable of scoring only one try.

Forwards and backs combined relentlessly as they attacked the Rotherham line, especially when Titans were reduced to 13 men only following yellow cards on 55 and 57 minutes against fly half Dallan Murphy and prop Marshall Gadd.

The defensive effort which followed was quite outstanding. Rotherham’s tackling was sharp, ferocious and highly effective.

The reason why Titans survived and escaped with the four Championship points was not only because the defence was so well organised, but also because they revealed tremendous team spirit when it mattered.

“This was the best defensive performance by a Rotherham team for several seasons,” said a relieved Blackett.

“We worked hard all week on our defence following our defeat at Bristol and all that effort has paid off.

“ I am delighted with the character the boys showed.”

Titans were not allowed to play with their usual flair, but they did score a thrilling try in the first half by full back Sean Scanlon which provided an 11-3 lead at the break.

Against the run of play, they advanced into Nottingham territory late in the second half and were rewarded with a penalty. Goal kicker, centre Juan Pablo Socino, then struck his fourth goal to confirm a victory which keeps them in the top half of the Championship on 29 points.

* Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Keating, Gill, Socino, Wilson, Murphy, Mulchrone, Gadd, Cruse, Quigley, Maddison, Sanderson, Birch, Preece, Pearce. Replacements: Sowrey, Tampin, Dias, Thomas, To’oala, White, Roberts.

Try:Scanlon; penalties: Socino 4.

Referee: Greg MacDonald.