By Andy Mitchell_______
IT WAS one of those days where anything that could go wrong did for Birmingham Moseley despite a late comeback.
Reduced to 13 men for the last nine minutes of the first half, the second sin bin bringing with it a penalty try that made all the difference in what had been a scruffy, tight game until then.
The pendulum swung back Moseley’s way as both sides made changes, Adam Balding’s replacements offering more power than their Cambridge counterparts but tries from Jack Combes and Greg Fisilau proved in vain as time ebbed away.
The clash had been littered with scruffy scrums and knock-ons until a turbulent two-minute spell towards the end of the first half for the hosts.
The only discernible difference between the sides set it in motion as Cambridge’s drive proved too powerful and prop James Tideswell made his way to the sin bin.
As pressure grew and desperation increased, replacement Ashley Johnson then joined him on the sidelines as referee Tim Allatt signalled for a penalty try.
To their credit, the 13 stood firm while being penned back and it was actually their attempt to gain territory that backfired as clever off-the-ball movement from the visitors made the most of the gaps.
Matt Hema dummied to pass before switching a simple lift to his right and into the run of Joe Tarrant who dabbed down with 35 minutes on the clock.
Back up to a full complement early in the second half, Moseley saw plenty of the ball but all too frequently found the door slammed shut and an unlikely snatch and drive forward from Kieran Frost gave Cambridge the impetus for try number three, Harry Morley eventually bustling through the crowd.
The subtle difference had been Cambridge’s superior power but that changed as the personnel did with Combes soon picking up the baton, his swift action and determined style epitomised by his try where seized upon the loose ball as a scrum broke down to jump in to score.
It set the tone for a strong finish and the power of Johnson helped Fisilau to nip round the back of another scrum for Moseley’s second a minute from the end.
They threw caution to the wind but Johnson was sent off for a second yellow card having crashed in late and Frost went in the sin bin for his reaction.
The domino effect from the initial challenge resulted in a worrying head injury for Tom Benjamin prior to a delayed last play that came to nothing.