DARLINGTON Mowden Park head coach John Newton admits it wasn’t his side’s prettiest performance of the season but will take any victory he can after edging out Birmingham & Solihull.
The visitors took the early initiative at The Darlington Arena through two Adam Canning penalties without reply. However, Ralph Appleby’s score set the comeback in motion before Max Connon and Cameron Mitchell both crashed over for Mowden either side of the break.
But all three tries were unconverted and Birmingham chipped away to reduce the arrears to just two points, only for the hosts to cling on for the 15-13 win.
It was too close for comfort for Newton, but he insists he is happy to rack up another four points in their bid for the SSE National Two North title.
“They are a good outfit and we always expect that from them,” said Newton.
“We took our chances at times and didn’t adapt our game plan. There are a few things to work on but they gave us as stern a test as anyone in the division, so we’ll take the win.
“Bonus points are key but more importantly we took the win. We don’t look at the league table and we haven’t done from week one, so as long as we’re winning we are not going to worry about too much else.
“If we win all our games we will keep that top spot. The lads are young enough and good enough to keep wanting more and pushing on each week.”
Mowden do retain top spot for another week but Macclesfield are edging closer, lying just one point behind after a bonus-point win against Chester.
Yet Newton believes he can count on his team to come to the fore as the business end of the season approaches.
“There were some good performances, Ralph Appleby played very well, as did Rory Duff at back row,” he added.
“Especially when it’s coming up to where we are in the season we can’t afford to carry players.
Mowden’s Shaun McCartney makes a run for it at The Northern Echo Arena
“Players naturally have their off days, no matter how good they are, so though a few guys were not up to scratch we did well enough as a collective.”