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London Irish 28 Exeter Chiefs 26

11 Jan 2015
London Irish 28 Exeter Chiefs 26

A dramatic last-gasp drop goal from Shane Geraghty made sure London Irish snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at home to Exeter Chiefs.

Irish scored the first try of the day thanks to Blair Cowan but it was Chiefs who took the lead in at the turn around thanks to Dean Mumm’s try five minutes before time.

Irish however raced ahead after the break with tries for Cowan, Alex Lewington and Tom Guest giving them control of the match.

Chiefs weren’t finished though and Dave Ewers’ converted try and Steenson’s penalty brought them within two and setup a nail-biting finale.

It looked like the boot of Steenson had given Exeter the win with a 76th minute penalty but Geraghty’s drop goal in the 81st minute ultimately separated the sides.

Exeter started brightly harrying the Irish defence into conceding a penalty, however Henry Slade’s ambitious effort from just inside half-way struck the post.

Exeter continued to press and only last ditch defending was able to prevent Slade getting over the line and keep the scores level.

Exeter did finally take the lead after 19 minutes when fly-half Steenson coolly kicked a penalty from 30 yards out.

Irish were awarded the chance to respond immediately but Shane Geraghty’s penalty attempt came up just short.

The home side appeared galvanised by going behind and their first sustained pressure brought the opening try of the game in the 26th minute as flanker Cowan was taken over by a driving maul.

Geraghty was unable to convert from out on the right meaning that Irish had to be content with a narrow 5-3 lead.

Irish’s lead was short lived however as first a Steenson penalty and then captain Mumm’s 35th minute try, scored wide right after good work by Exeter’s forwards and converted by Steenson, allowed the Chief’s to build a 13-5 lead at the break.

Irish cut the gap to just a single point in the 45th minute as a quick break and smart lay-off from a line-out allowed Guest to burst over with Geraghty adding the extras.

The home side now looked a constant threat and  re-took the lead just two minutes later when Fergus Mulchrome’s inside pass from the left allowed Lewington to dive under the covering tackles to score – Geraghty unable to convert.

Exeter now looked rattled as Geraghty’s quick hands freed Cowan to power through a gap in the defence and score his second try of the game with 56 minutes gone.

An end-to-end game delivered its sixth try on the hour mark as Ewers crashed over following a powerful run by Sam Hill.

Steenson completed his second conversion of the match to bring the away side within two at 22-20.

With 12 minutes to play a Tom Homer penalty extended Irish’s lead to five before minutes Steenson made the score 25-23 with a penalty of his own.

After a frantic spell another Steenson penalty put Exeter in the lead with just four minutes remaining.

However, there was still time for more drama, with the clock showing time-up the home side were able to work the space for Geraghty to kick the decisive drop-goal with the last action of the match.

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