Hallett the last gasp hero kicks Wimbledon to victory at Chichester
There was total silence around the Chichester ground as Wimbledon Captain, Neil Hallett, lined up a penalty conversion attempt 5m in from touch on Chichester’s 10m line.
It was the final play of the game and a miss would leave Wimbledon’s the losers by a point, while success would give them a two-point victory.
Hallett did not miss and Wimbledon recorded their fourth consecutive London Division One South win, beating the former joint leaders 24-22.
It was just reward for a gutsy and often classy Wimbledon performance in the face of adversity.
The Dons were 14-0 down after 20 minutes with hardly a glimpse of the ball, let alone a touch, yet they fought back despite endless penalties against them.
A fine break by scrum half Rhys Morgan just before half time, with great support from his pack, and quick ball across the field gave wing Pete Scott the half yard he needed to beat two men and score in the corner - Hallett converted superbly from the touchline into a strong wind.
Five minutes into the second half, and quick ruck ball and a long miss-pass from Hallett to Jack Fishwick saw the lock charge in for Dons’ second try.
Again Hallett converted from the touchline and the teams were level.
A penalty five minutes later gave Chichester’s Anscombe his third successful kick of the day and his team a three-point lead.
After s scrappy 15-minute period, Dons’ number 10, Brian Croke, crowned a good all-round game by scything through Chichester’s backs to score in the corner.
Yet again Hallett made the conversion look easy and Dons were ahead 21-17.
In the dying minutes a succession of penalties against Wimbledon (taking the home team’s tally to 24) took Chichester to 5m from the goal line and the almost inevitable pushover try followed.
But the conversion was missed and there was just the one point in it.
Wimbledon’s self-belief and sheer determination to beat their old rivals, forced play in to Chichester’s half and they won just their fifth penalty of the match.
The roar as Hallett’s kick sailed between the posts to inflict only Chichester’s third home defeat in two seasons could probably have been heard in Wimbledon.
This weekend, Wimbledon travel to Chobham hoping to avenge their defeat by three points earlier in the season.
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