Depleted Derby cannot hold on to lead as Scunthorpe hit back
DERBY failed to hold on to a half-time lead – and struggled to keep 15 men on the pitch – as they suffered another National League Three Midlands defeat at home to Scunthorpe.
Rock bottom Derby were looking for their first win of the season at Haslams Lane – and it was looking good when they ended the opening period with a slender 12-8 advantage.
However, the hosts had three men sin-binned and another sent off after the break, allowing Scunthorpe to cash in and clinch the victory.
Scunthorpe dominated the opening exchanges and opened the scoring with a well-worked try from Tom Foster after 10 minutes.
Derby finally stirred and looked the better side for the final 20 minutes of the half.
They opened their account when Andy Jones was stopped just short of the line but the ball was recycled and Luke Frixou stretched over to touch down.
Matt Down converted to put Derby 7-5 up.
Scunthorpe hit back with a penalty after 25 minutes, before the home side scored a fine try.
Down cleverly delayed his pass and sent Ben Marlow clear.
He found Lewis Thompson, who, from 30 metres out, beat the last two defenders for pace to score.
Things started to go wrong for Paul McCartin's men three minutes into the second half.
A Scunthorpe penalty dropped short of the posts but in trying the gather the ball, Derby knocked on.
From the resulting scrum, Will Robinson broke free to touch down.
Then, in quick succession, Jordan Goddard and Owen West were yellow-carded.
Scunthorpe took full advantage by running in two more tries, courtesy of Ben Wright and Gareth Mist, plus a conversion and a penalty.
After another yellow card 10 minutes from time, for Phil Robinson, Derby conceded again – Wright getting his second.
A fight then broke out, resulting in red cards for Derby's Thompson and Scunthorpe's Oli Wood.
Derby had the last word when West touched down after good work from Mikey Robertson and Marlow.
Down added the conversion to complete the scoring.
It was a typically frustrating afternoon for head coach McCartin.
"For long periods, we played some of our best rugby of the season," he said.
"We were genuinely unlucky not to be 19-8 up at half-time, after a last-ditch tap tackle stopped us scoring.
"In the second half, it was a combination of our own mistakes and, I have to say, some refereeing inconsistencies which cost us.
"Jordan Goddard was yellow-carded for being offside in the centre of the pitch, when he wasn't interfering with play.
"Then Owen West took man and ball in a tackle and was carded for taking the man without the ball.
"Scunthorpe scored two tries while we were down to 13 men and that took the game away from us.
"It was frustrating, to say the least.
"But we have to cut out the mistakes and we have to learn to play the referee better, whether we agree with his interpretation of the rules or not."