This game was a reality check for MV who came into the match as firm favourites but went home licking their wounds having dropped from league leaders to 3rd place.
Conditions were much better than forecast as rain abated and winds subsided to give the teams an opportunity to play good rugby. Littleborough drew first blood as Trafford conceded a penalty within their own ’22 which was concerted comfortable 0-3 to the visitors.
Trafford responded quickly with a try from scrum half Tom Newton who dived over from close range after MV won good second phase ball close to the defending try line, stand off Aaron Booth converted 7 – 3 to MV.
Trafford MV were looking dominant in the scrums and a second try came their wat as No 8 Paul Davenport burst off the base of a scrum to power over close to the posts.
Booth again converted to go 14-3 ahead. It was at this point that MV really needed to step up a level and take a grip of the game to enforce the superiority that seemed to be theirs. However Littleborough were not to be outdone and kept up a spirited competition, they played their way deep into the MV half.
From a scrum Littleborough attacked and their inside centre fed the ball back to the scrum half who split the MV defence easily to score to the left of the uprights, converting to close the gap 14-10. The visitors were now playing on the front foot and scored again the build up to half time converting to take a 14 – 17 lead into the interval.
This was a good game for the spectators as the advantage ebbed and flowed but neither side were making the most of their possession.
MV were first to strike soon after the restart as scrappy forward play saw flanker Conor Coogan just scramble across the line to get the touchdown, Booth converted again 21 – 17 to MV. From a lineout close to the MV line a loose ball was picked up and driven straight the the heart of a loose MV pack for an easy score converted again by Littleborough 21-24.
MV were shuffling their number now trying to use a strong bench to enhance things. Andy Quigley put MV back in front with a good aggressive driving run to punch his way over the line.
Booths conversion making it 28-24. With time running out MV could not control play still and with the last attack of the game from the visiting side again it was very poor tackling in defence that let MV down and allowed Littleborough to snatch the game as the stand off strolled though the defending back line without a hand being laid on him.
The conversion game the visitors a deserved win which took them off the bottom of the table and knocked MV off the top.
Defensively MV need to take a heart searching look at themselves. Their defensive line needs to be hard and clinical, they cannot afford to slip off tackles or miss the first tackle and hope for covering players to make up for the mistakes. Tackles need to be first time destructive to the opposing attack.
MV have the ability to score points but they need to stop conceding so many points if a league title id the ambition.
Trafford MV travel away to Ellesmere Port next weekend looking for a vastly improved performance to re-establish their challenge for the leadership of the ADM Championship.