Hartlepool Rovers’ winning run increased to six matches after a 27-25 win at Consett on Saturday.
The visitors had led 24-10 at half-time only for Consett to claw their way back into the game and lead 25-24 with six minutes of normal time remaining.
The result all came down to a last-kick-of-the-match penalty chance for Daz Fawcett and he overcame any nerves – including referee Mark Jude moving the mark by 18 inches after Fawcett had lined the kick up – to coolly slot the three-pointer.
The minute the kick sailed between the uprights, Mr Jude blew for time, which was the cue for the Rovers’ squad to mob their match-winner.
The successful kick closed off a very satisfying display for the stand-off in attack, defence and with his kicking boot.
Whilst Fawcett played his part, all of his team-mates did too with some of their passing, offloading, running and support play being out of the top-drawer.
Consett fielded former Rovers’ favourite Stewart Grazier in their back row but it was to be his old team’s day in good conditions at Belle Vue.
Rovers had to weather some early Consett pressure and Alex Paulus looked set to run in only to be tackled into touch by Fawcett.
On their first attack, Rovers took a 7-0 10th minute lead when Liam Austwicke, Stephen Flounders, brother Andrew broke down the right flank.
The ball was kept alive by Liam Wood and Lee Maddison with Tyrone Church managing to reach for the line when tap-tackled five metres out, Fawcett converting.
Consett were made to pay for having some forwards where their backs should have been when John Rowbotham didn’t have the legs to make it to the line and hooker Richard Cleaver spilled his pass.
The hosts took three scrums in a row from penalty awards and the pressure eventually told on 17 minutes when Stephen Walls broke from the base to put Jack Clark in at the right hand corner flag although Rovers complained he had been in touch.
Nick Cook put over the touchline conversion and it was all square 7-7.
Cook then put over a 22 metre penalty that had been advanced by 10 metres for dissent to give his side a 10-7 lead after 26 minutes with Fawcett then going wide from 40 metres on the half hour mark.
Some superb elusive running from Wood three minutes later sent Jack Gunn away and a great pass to Stephen Flounders saw play switch inside and Dylan Langley received to cross, Fawcett added the extras and a 17 metre penalty on 38 minutes and Rovers had the lead back 17-10.
There was still time for the Friaragemen to launch another tremendous running and passing move from 50 metres out and sub Andrew Dring plugged away to reach the line after some great inter-passing by Matty Stephenson, Dring himself and Mick Ryan.
Fawcett slotted the front-on conversion and the visitors had a deserved 24-10 interval lead.
Rovers started the second half well with some strong driving play by the away eight but the move broke down inside the home 22 and a quick counter through Lewis McQueen, Tom Johnson and Jack Clark saw Stephen Walls power over from close range to cut the deficit to 15-24.
The White Shirts started to lose their impetus with a succession of penalties and lost line-outs giving Consett the upper-hand and with a man advantage, Langley being in the sin bin.
Consett again went for a scrum from a penalty award after 57 minutes and Walls dribbled the ball over the line from the base of the scrum and Cook converted to cut Rovers’ lead to 22-24.
Rovers were being heavily penalised but with the ball back in hand they countered through Patrick O’Callaghan, Austwicke, Ian Pinchen and Maddison to set up Fawcett for a drop goal but his 30 metre effort just missed its target by inches.
Consett found a way through the cover on 74 minutes and Cook kicked a superb penalty from the left touchline to give Consett the lead for only the second time 25-24.
Adam Smith started off the move that brought Fawcett’s chance and the pack took over and forced Consett into conceding a penalty. It was easily within Fawcett’s range but 10 metres for dissent made for an easier shot at goal.
If he was nervous it didn’t show and it was a game-clinching kick.
Consett: Patterson, Herdman, Cook, Paulus, Clark, Johnson, Trott, Sadler, Cleaver, McQueen, Rowbotham, Urwin, Grazier, Grey, Walls (c). Subs used: Watson, Raine, Varley
Tries: Walls 46, 58; Grey 17; conversions: Cook 17, 58; penalties: Cook 26, 74
Rovers: Rochester, S Flounders, Austwicke, Gunn, A Smith, Fawcett, M Stephenson, A Flounders, Cushlow, Pinchen (c), Langley, Ryan, Wood, Maddison, Church. Subs used: Dring, I Flounders, O’Callaghan
Tries: Chuirch 10; Langley 33; Dring 40; conversions: Fawcett 10, 33, 40; penalties: Fawcett 38, 80+1
Penalties awarded 8, kicked 2, missed 1
Referee: Mark Jude (Durham)
Sent off: none; sin bin: Urwin 30; Langley 46
Other results: Acklam 45 Ponteland 22; Darlington 12 Medicals 43; Durham City 69 Stockton 14; Gateshead 27 Novocastrians 39; Gosforth 3 Ryton 26; Horden 14 Middlesbrough 24