Late Stern try hands East London victory over Braintree
PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 January 2019
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London Three Essex: East London 22 Braintree 19
A try at the death by replacement forward Ben Stern earned East London a deserved 22-19 victory over Braintree in London Three Essex.
With the Memorial Ground having looked to have given the game away with less than five minutes to go, coach Eddie Gooby described the win as “an example of grit, courage and determination”.
Gooby added: “This was a great match between two committed sides that began the day third and fourth in the league table.
“The result is a massive statement for us for the remainder of the season.”
With Chelmsford, currently second, losing away at Old Cooperians, the win puts East London back in with a chance at challenging for promotion.
The hosts opened the scoring on 11 minutes when fly-half Alex Pearmain found a gap in the Braintree defence, before throwing a dummy pass that enabled him to score under the posts with the extras added,
East London almost added to the lead, but wing Sean Cooper was eventually bundled into touch after a dash that began in his own half.
With no quarter given by either side, the score remained the same until two minutes into the second-half.
Hooker Lewis Bourke broke a series of tackles before popping a pass to scrum-half Will Brown to score.
Despite some solid home defence, the experienced Braintree pack helped fashion a try on 55 minutes, but the conversion was missed.
Pearmain held his nerve on the hour when a penalty from distance extended the East London lead to ten points.
Braintree came back with a converted try on 66 minutes to narrow the gap to three points.
Ten minutes later the ball was lost on the Braintree line as East London looked for the score to secure the match.
The visitors went the length of the pitch for a converted try and a four-point lead with time almost up.
East London heads didn’t drop and with the pack making ground, replacement forward Ben Stern found the space to score in the left corner.
Pearmain converted from out wide for a three-point win.
Gooby said: “We spoke before the game about staying strong and we had to dig deep at the end.
“The win was more important than the performance and we can be confident about our remaining matches. We have some big games to play and exciting times ahead.”