Leigh East collected their second win in five days on Wednesday with a brilliant comeback to deny Saddleworth Rangers.
East began the game confidently with early sets laying the foundation before Pat Rainford was felled by a hight tackle within range of the posts. Tom Worthington stepped up to goal from 30 metres and East led 2-0.
The visitors thought they had scored minutes later when prop Gareth Morgan got over the line but the try was ruled out for a forward pass. From the scrum, Adam Holland punted the ball downfield and Josh Adudwumaa won the race only to be hauled down metres from the try line.
Visiting skipper Ethan Langhorn held down and was sent to the sinbin after 17 minutes. East took advantage and after Nathan Gaskell had been caught on the right; Mark Cahill turned the ball down the blind side for Ryan Hughes to wriggle over. Worthington converted from wide out and East led 8-0.
The home pack continued to dominate with Jamie Waters, Adam Wilkes and Phil Bickerstaff getting through a heap of work with Jay Yarwood, Ryan Holcroft and Jonathan Abbott lending support.
Saddleworth saw some good work on kick returns from fullback Ash Wildman while Lancashire representative Adam Jeffries was heavily involved along with Jack Bradbury, Michael Coates, Josh Bradbury and Craig Farrimond. Second row Anthony Morrision was also prominant but was marched to the sinbin after 36 minutes for use of the forearm.
It was the invitation Leigh East needed as Worthington kicked wide, Gaskell caught and touched down on the right. Worthington goaled again and the hosts led 14-0. Seconds from the break interference on Adudwumaa brought a penalty on half way but this time Worthington couldn't convert and East had to be content with a 14-0 half-time lead.
An error from the first carry of the new half heaped pressure on Leigh East and Saddleworth were a different proposition. They eventually scored after 49 minutes when Langhorn cut back on a cross-field passing move at the side of the posts for Josh Bradbury to convert.
At 14-6, Saddleworth had their foothold and dominated possession, position and penalties. Three tries in six minutes brought a complete turnaround to the game. The first came after 63 minutes, while East were still down to twelve men following the sinbinning of Wilkes. Anthony Morrison over from close range for Josh Bradbury to improve.
East kicked the restart out on the full before a bustling run and offload from Jeffries took the heat from supporting Morgan and the prop dived under the posts to put Rangers in front for the first time. Bradbury goaled once more and it was 18-14 in their favour.
In the 69th minute Saddleworth increased their advantage. It was a tap penalty to the visitors. Everyone heard the shrill blast of a whistle from an adjoining pitch. Crucially East thought it came from the referee and stopped while Morrison slowed but continued to run. Play was waved on and the second row went in. Bradbury's fourth goal opened a 24-14 lead.
At this stage defeat looked on the cards for Leigh East but they galvanised superbly and were handed an opportunity to get themselves back in the game when Coates took Holland out with a late tackle. Once again the referee reached for his pocket and sent a fourth man to the sin-bin.
From the tap penalty Jamie Waters showed strength and footwork to charge over and Worthington's fourth goal closed the gap to four points.
With confidence racing through the side, they charged forward, winning penalties and territory. Saddleworth were hanging on and East came up with a crucial try after 76 minutes when Worthington dummied the defence and cut to the posts. His conversion nudged East in front and they gave the game the most dramatic of endings when Holland collected the ball at dummy half on the final play and picked his way through for a fifth team try. Worthington sealed it with his sixth goal and Leigh East celebrated victory.
LEIGH EAST: Chris Penn, Josh Adudwumaa, Curtis Littlewod, Nathan Gaskell, Ryan Hughes; Adam Holland, Tom Worthington; Jamie Waters, Pat Rainford, Adam Wilkes, Zac Nicholls, Josh Swift, Phil Bickerstaff. Subs: Jay Yarwood, Mark Cahill, Ryan Holcroft, Jonny Abbott.
Tries: Ryan Hughes (18), Nathan Gaskell (37), Jamie Waters (73), Tom Worthington (76), Adam Holland (80).
Goals: Tom Worthington 6/7.
Sinbinned: Adam Wilkes (55) - Professional Foul
SADDLEWORTH RANGERS: Ash Wildman, Sam Hart, James Whaley, Ethan Langhorn, Danny Bowker; Jack Bradbury, Michael Coates; Gareth Morgan, Josh Bradbury, Adam Jeffries, Dom Igoe, Anthony Morrison, Craig Farrimond. Subs: Andy Joy, Richard Joy, Tom Dransfield, Harry Godfrey.
Tries: Ethan Langhorn (49), Anthony Morrison 2 (63, 69), Gareth Morgan (65).
Goals: Josh Bradbury 4/4.
Sinbinned: Ethan Langhorn (17) - Professional Foul, Anthony Morrison (36) - Striking (Forearm), Michael Coates (73) - Late tackle on kicker.