Tom Williams, on his 200th Harlequins appearance, superbly denies Kelly Brown a try
28 September 2013, 05:32 pm ::
By Ben Baker
Harlequins 12 Saracens 22
Chris Ashton's second Aviva Premiership try of the season helped Saracens continue their stranglehold over Harlequins as they came from behind to secure victory at the Stoop.
Harlequins were hoping for a better run out at the Stoop against Sarries, having fallen to Northampton Saints last time out in front of their home fans.
And things looked good as the two sides headed into the interval with Nick Evans outkicking opposite number Owen Farrell as the home side led 12-6.
But England wing Ashton was sent over after the restart and while the kicks at the posts dried up for Evans Saracens', fly-half Farrell was kept busy as the visitors eased to their sixth win in their last seven games against Harlequins as well as their fourth straight to start the new campaign.
It was the home side who started the brighter and with just three minutes on the board Evans had his side in front as he kicked his first three-pointer of the game.
But things almost turned very sour for the Kiwi just moments later as following a deep restart by the visitors his attempted clearance was charged down by Richard Wigglesworth, but the scrum-half couldn't gather the ball to dot it down as it ran out of play.
But this was a sign of things to come and Saracens began to threaten, Harlequins needing a last-ditch tackle from George Lowe to prevent David Strettle going over in the left corner.
However Sarries soon found themselves down to 14 men on 11 minutes as Alex Goode was sent to the bin for a professional foul after being deemed to have deliberately blocked Ugo Monye, as the wing looked to chase down his own kick.
Evans kicked the resulting penalty and Harlequins had built an early 6-0 lead, although Farrell did get his side on the scoresheet five minutes later with a penalty to half the deficit.
However Evans replied with a penalty of his own as Quins regained their six-point cushion, although they were soon given a reminder of the danger Sarries pose as they were caught napping at a lineout and Kelly Brown thought he had gone over only for Tom Williams - on his 200th Harlequins appearance - to hold him up with a superb tackle.
A skirmish broke out before the television match official was able to rule the try out and the home side were reduced to 14 men as Maurie Fa'asavalu was shown a yellow card.
Two minutes later Farrell had got his side back to within three points with a penalty but immediately after the restart Duncan Taylor was pinged for not rolling away and Evans kicked one of his own as Quins headed into half-time 12-6 ahead.
However Saracens started the second half like a team possessed and within five minutes took the lead for the first time as a flowing move ensued between Farrell, Chris Wyles and Ashton with the latter touching down under the posts.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as just three minutes later Joe Marler was sent to the bin for deliberately pulling down a maul with Saracens well and truly on top.
And Harlequins had no answer for Sarries' dominance as Farrell kicked another three penalties while Quins were unable to add to their first-half scores, Evans wayward with a 74th-minute effort to sum their afternoon up.