East London get better of Braintree rivals following superb second-half display
- Credit: Archant
East London produced a scintillating second-half display to earn a 25-22 win at London Three Essex rivals Braintree on Saturday.
A thrilling try from right wing Kevin O'Donoghue with less than three minutes left secured the win that saw them move up to fourth in the table, leapfrogging their hosts.
And delighted head coach Eddie Gooby said: "The second 40 minutes was the complete performance and the best we've played in a while. That is the benchmark for the rest of our season."
Braintree started the stronger but missed a penalty on four minutes, before East London opened the scoring moments later.
Fly-half Nick Botha kicked to the right corner and O'Donoghue gave chase to bundle the defender into touch. The line-out was secured and hooker Lewis Bourke saw a gap between two Braintree backs to touch down, with Botha converting.
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The lead didn't last long as Braintree enjoyed their best spell with a pair of converted tries putting them 14-7 up before Botha replied with a penalty.
The home side added an unconverted try to go 19-10 up but East London bounced back again as O'Donoghue kicked through on the right, stole the ball from a defender and the ball was moved to left wing Bill Brown to score in the corner.
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A penalty gave Braintree a 22-15 lead at half-time, but with pacy replacement Max Stanyard on at full back, the visitors were more threatening after the restart.
A sublime crossfield kick by Botha was caught on the run by Bill Brown to score in the corner, before Braintree enjoyed a spell of possession without seriously threatening the East London line.
With less than three minutes remaining O'Donoghue collected on the right touchline and, from 30 metres out, he skipped past three tackles, flirting with the touchline to score the match-winning try.
East London now take a break from league action to host Dagenham in the Essex Intermediate Cup at the Memorial Ground in West Ham on Saturday (2pm).
East London: Gibson, Bourke, C Brown, Norton, Staples-Preston, Cassidy, E Brown, Parrott, W Brown, Botha, B Brown, Ng, Reilly, O'Donoghue, Billinghurst. Replacements: Shortland, Kelly, Stanyard.