Albion show character but home hearts are broken by last-gasp Scottish try
Plymouth Albion suffered a heart-breaking home defeat last night when they were narrowly beaten by London Scottish at Brickfields.
The turning point in the game came when the home side had Canadian lock Brett Beukeboom sent off in the 52nd minute for what was deemed a tip tackle and Scottish scored a converted try straight from the penalty.
Albion were leading 14-10 at the time after Beukeboom had given them the lead just ten minutes earlier.
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Despite playing with a man down, Albion fought like tigers and it looked like they might get their first home win of the season when two Dan Mugford penalties put them back in front. But in the last minute of normal time Scottish replacement Jamie Stevenson scored what proved to be the winning try.
Albion, who had been beaten 40-9 at London Welsh the week before, could not have come closer to snatching the four points in injury-time, but Scottish just held them out.
The crowd fell silent as the referee blew his full-time whistle and Albion players slumped to the floor from exhaustion and disappointment.
The defeat means Albion go into the break for the British & Irish Cup with just one win to their name from the first four league games and still waiting for a home victory.
The visitors took the lead in the third minute when fly-half Lee Millar kicked a penalty from halfway. The talk for the last couple of weeks had been about Albion improving their discipline and cutting out the yellow cards and penalties.
But on six minutes they picked up their sixth yellow card of the season when Tom Bowen took out Miles Mantella in the air as he collected a high kick from Ruairi Cushion.
Millar went for goal from the penalty but this time he missed.
Albion finally got out of their half on eight minutes and in their first foray in the opposition 22 they got a penalty. They went for the corner but knocked on the lineout.
On 22 minutes Albion gave away a poor try. They lost the ball in their own half with some shocking passing. Scottish kicked forward and Chris Elder was forced to give away a line-out right on their line.
From the set-play Scottish scored with scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin diving over from the back of the maul. Millar converted to make it 10-0.
The try seemed to inspire Albion, who hit back with one of their own straight away.
The home side attacked at pace they had not shown in the opening 20 minutes. They went right before switching it back left. Jamie Davies was close before the ball went inside and there was Eoghan Grace to dive over near the posts. Mugford converted.
As the rain arrived, Scottish were reduced to 14 men when they had wing Mike Doneghan sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident.
The home side got the perfect start to the second half when they scored within two minutes of the restart.
Scottish lost the ball in their own half and Albion, who had brought on Gareth Evans at half-time, picked up and attacked with Rhys Oakley feeding Beukeboom to score under the posts. Mugford added the easy conversion.
Albion nearly added a third try minutes later. Davies, Toby Howley-Berridge and Bowen went close but Scottish held them out.
But Albion suffered a setback on 52 minutes when Beukeboom was red-carded for what the officials deemed a tip tackle. Scottish scored straight from the penalty. They went for the lineout and former Redruth player Mark Bright broke off to dive over. Millar added the conversion to put Scottish 17-14 up.
Albion, though, levelled the game when Mugford kicked a penalty on 57 minutes.
And, despite having a man less, they took the lead again five minutes later when Mugford kicked another penalty.
Scottish thought they had scored a try in the 67th minute when Love put in Mantella, but the Exiles winger was adjudged to have knocked on under pressure by Albion.
Home hearts were broken, though, when Jamie Stevenson broke down the left wing to score in the corner after good play by Bright and PJ Gidlow while Albion had a man down injured.
Dan Newton missed the conversion so Albion knew they just needed a penalty to win.
The home side threw everything at Scottish in the dying minutes. Albion could not have come closer to scoring. They got themselves a five-metre scrum in injury-time but could not make it tell and eventually knocked on.