Sheffield Eagles failed to make a second-half numerical advantage count as they slipped to a 46-12 loss to high-flying London Broncos, despite an improved showing.
With the Eagles fielding another young side they looked to have an opportunity 15 minutes into the second-half when London’s Ben Evans was sent off, but the hosts regrouped to dominate the final quarter to go second in the Championship standings.
Director of rugby Mark Aston will have been buoyed by an improved showing, which had Sheffield in with a shout with 20 minutes remaining, but London’s class took them over the line with the Eagles looking to kick-start their season again against Barrow at the Summer Bash on Saturday.
After weeks of injury frustration, director of rugby Aston received a welcome boost when influential hooker Matty Fozard was given the green light to return after an ankle issue, whilst Corey Makelim was also back after illness, taking his place in the halves alongside Hull KR loanee Thibault Franck.
With the Broncos going past 60 points at the OLP last weekend, the hosts were stunned as the Eagles took an early lead. The returning Fozard crossed and converted his own score to give the Eagles an early fillip.
The form book to have been thrown out the window as the Eagles started to look comfortable, but they were pegged back on the half-hour mark as Rhys Williams weaved his way through to score, and Jarrod Sammut levelled with the conversion.
The try gave what was a nervy looking London the boost they required, as the Eagles found themselves pinned back. The Broncos hit the front before the interval through Mark Ioane, but Sammut missed the extras.
With one foot in the door, the hosts seized their opportunity with the Eagles having Matty Costello and Ryan Millar in the sin-bin, as Matty Gee bagged a brace to put the hosts in control at the break.
Any notion that the Broncos would have it their own way in the second stanza were quickly quashed as a converted score from Oliver Davies put the Eagles back within touching distance.
Evans was then given a straight red for a punch in the middle of the field, but the hosts upped their game and ran clear with tries from Sammut, Matt Davis, Dixon and Williams to seal the points.