A second half comeback where Charlton Park overcome a 16 points deficit saw them snatch a win in an extremely hard fought but thoroughly engrossing game against a committed Hove side who’s play does not reflect their position in the league.
The match started at break-neck speed when from the kick off Charlton regained possession and after working their way down field, with driving play and taking the ball through numerous phases, opened the scoring in the first two minutes with a converted try scored by scrum half Alan Knuckey.
Having conceded the lead did not seem to effect Hove’s intentions and the next twenty minutes saw them running the ball at every opportunity and their precise running allied to pin point passing saw the score three converted tries to take a useful lead.
Despite falling behind Charlton’s forwards have gained a slight advantage in tight play and it was this advantage that provided the basis of Charlton’s next score. Following the award of a penalty Charlton from the ensuing lineout their driving maul they opted for a five-metre scrum and with Hove being pushed backwards the visitors were deemed to be offending and the referee awarded a penalty try and Knuckey added his second successful conversion to narrow the deficit to seven points.
This temporary setback did not affect Hove and they immediately responded by running the ball and subsequently scored their fourth try of the match and fifth try just before half time seemingly had secured a winning lead.
A scathing half time talk from Charlton’s coaching staff ensured that they started the second half in a better frame and riding their luck when Hove missed a penalty kick Charlton started their revival and clawing back the points differential. With Charlton’s forwards driving well and quick possession being gained Charlton came back into the match.
A drive from Charlton’s prop Luka Perlain, allied to good phases of forward driving play, that saw Knuckey touching the ball down for Charlton’s third try to give them a glimmer of hope. It was Mark Harlow-Singh’s drive half way through the second half was the catalyst for Charlton’s fourth try. When Harlow-Singh was tackled close to the Hove goal line good clearing of the ruck by his players saw them create the chance for Knuckey to score,
With Charlton now enjoying parity in the match they started to express themselves and good runs from the backs seemed to cause slight panic among Hove’s defence. It was a tackle that would have not disgraced the televised American wrestling that seemed to galvanise Charlton into further action.
A driving play saw Knuckey darting to score his third try of the match and secure Charlton what they perceived to be one bonus point from a match that at half time seemed out of their reach.
Charlton’s fifth and final try was the result of their dominance at the scrummage when following disrupted play Hove lost control of the ball and Charlton were quicker to react and Darren Chapman was driven over to touch the ball down. With Knuckey converting all five tries it meant that Charlton had taken the lead and set up a four-point lead.
Nervous final ten minutes was set up when Hove kicked a penalty to narrow Charlton’s lead to one point. Charlton used the final minutes to set up field position deep in the Hove half and with only one minute left A Knuckey penalty saw Charlton secured, against the odds, a further win in a match that looked at times to have lost.