Thunder find the going tough

GATESHEAD are limping towards the end of a disappointing Co-op National League Two campaign after losing by 20 points at London Skolars for their fifth consecutive defeat.

London Skolars 32, Gateshead Thunder 12

GATESHEAD are limping towards the end of a disappointing Co-op National League Two campaign after losing by 20 points at London Skolars for their fifth consecutive defeat.

The margin of victory, however, flattered the Skolars who completed their first double over the Tynesiders.

Only eight points separated the sides in a game switched from the New River Stadium to Finchley, until the hosts scored two converted tries in the last three minutes.

Gateshead’s longest trip of the season proved fruitless but they got off to a flyer through Robin Peers’ overlap try after five minutes and led 8-6 at half-time.

Corey Simms took a cross-field kick by former Tynesider Paul Thorman to tie the scores before tries either side of half-time from winger Graham Stephenson gave Thunder a six-point lead.

Stephenson capitalised on an Austin Aggrey error for his second but while Thorman kicked all six goals for the Londoners, Michael Knowles missed all three of his kicks.

Gateshead struggled to create openings after the break but the game was in the balance after Chris Lynton grabbed London’s second of the afternoon.

The home side’s next try was a controversial one as a Neil Thorman pass on his own 20 took a deflection off a Skolars’ player and Ashley Tozer picked up the loose ball to hit the line.

Errors while in possession and the concession of needless penalties undermined the struggling Tynesiders’ efforts.

Chris Shears’ 77th-minute try finally confirmed victory for the hosts.

The loose forward hit the line from dummy half after throwing a dummy.

And London celebrated a record-breaking seventh league win with another try in the last minute.

Aggrey atoned for his earlier error to hit the line with a determined run to leave Gateshead second bottom in the table with five games remaining.

GATESHEAD: Thorman, Peers, Nash, Williamson, Stephenson, Clarke, Martin, Payne, Smith, Cakacaka, Wooden, Knowles, Hyde. Subs: Till, Doherty, Bradley, Parker Referee: Paul Carr (Castleford)

Attendance: 326

Scoring – Peers, Try, 5m, 0-4; Simms, Try, 16m, 4-4; Thorman, Con, 6-4; Stephenson, Try, 27m, 6-8; Stephenson, Try, 48m, 6-12; Lynton, Try, 52m, 10-12; Thorman, Con, 12-12; Tozer, Try, 59m, 12-16; Thorman, Con, 12-18; Thorman, pen, 12-20; Shears, Try, 77m, 12-24; Thorman, Try, 12-26; Aggrey, Try, 80m, 12-30; Thorman, Con, 12-32

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