Bath searching for first victory as Saints win at the Rec

Mallon's touch down, the solitary try of a game played at times in monsoon conditions, came courtesy of a wayward Bath attack inside the Saints twenty-two as a misdirected round-the corner pass in the back line fell into the Irishman's hands who then proceeded to run fully eighty metres to slide over at the corner.

Bath Rugby find themselves in a position at the bottom of the Premiership, and Head Coach John Connolly was in no doubt as to whether his side should have won the match. "In conditions like these today you tend to lose matches rather than win them," he lamented. "We dominated the second half, but when you miss your shots at goal you put yourself under a lot of pressure and that is exactly what happened. The try came as a direct result of that. It was an ambitious move and in slippy conditions, it did not pay off."
Both teams went into the game after losing their opening games and there was a tense atmosphere at the Rec. Once again kicking, or rather poor kicking, was to play its part in the game rather than it did at the Memorial Stadium as Bath, with plenty of attacking advantage, forward dominance, territory and field position, could not reap the rewards as Olly Barkley and Chris Malone were off target with the boot.
Salesi Finau, the Tongan wing signed to ease growing injury concerns in the backs, was sin binned after just two minutes for killing the ball when the Saints were attacking inside the Bath twenty-two. It was symptomatic of Bath's fruitless day in the rain as Bruce Reihana, who could not hit a barn door last week, stepped up to convert the first of four penalties.

Olly Barkley did reply in kind with his first attempt of the game, but Reihana soon restored the advantage just before the heavens opened at the Rec, prompting the ten thousand strong crowd, prepared for Cricket weather, to rush off to buy the club's new ponchos, turning the open stands into a sea of blue.

Referee David Rose, who gave his yellow card a good work out, brandished it for the second time when Saints' number eight Daniel Browne was adjudged to have made a dangerous late tackle on James Scaysbrook. Bath continued to push on and after tensions over boiled in a rather interesting set to between the two packs, Olly Barkley stepped up to send a penalty between the posts to level the scores once more after twenty-one minutes just before the deluge.

Matt Perry, in the wars after a collision with Captain Steve Borthwick, saved the home side midway through the half when Carlos Spencer's well timed floated kick found its way to the eager hands of Ben Cohen. Borthwick, who was cut above the bridge of the nose, was forced from the field to receive attention after thirty-one minutes. No sooner was the influential Bath Rugby captain off the field than Bruce Reihana stepped up to convert a penalty to regain the lead.

Chris Malone missed two penalties after the restart as Bath attacked from the off, but frustratingly, Reihana, in a rich vein of form at the other end, struck another attempt to give the Saints a 12-6 advantage before Barkley did claw one back for the home side.
With conditions increasingly treacherous under foot, it was becoming clear that a single moment of brilliance would secure victory. Bath thought they had done just that when Andy Beattie appeared to have touched down in the corner after a well-weighted cross field kick fell into his hands. However, referee Rose baffled most at the Rec by bringing play back for a Bath scrum.
The moment had passed and in a game of missed opportunities, Mallon then stepped up to make himself known to the Saints supporters. The strode off at great pace and despite the best efforts of Barkley's tackle on the line, the Ulster man was already celebrating the score that was to win the game.

Northampton Saints - Reihana (capt); Lamont, Clarke, Mallon, Cohen; Spencer, Robinson (Howard 86mins); Smith, Hartley (Thompson 40mins), Sturgess, Lord, Damien Browne, Soden, Fox, Daniel Browne (Lewitt 60mins).
Bath Rugby - Perry (Davies 40-48mins); Finau, Higgins, Barkley, Welsh; Malone (Dunne 74mins), Wood; Barnes (Stevens 59mins), Mears, Bell, Borthwick (Fidler 32-40mins, 58-62mins), (capt), Grewcock, Beattie, Scaysbrook, Feaunati (Delve 69mins).

Time line
2 mins Reihana pen 0-3
6 mins: Barkley pen 3-3
11 mins: Riehana pen 6-3
22 mins: Barkley pen 6-6
32 mins: Reihana pen 6-9
54 mins: Reihana pen 6-12
62 mins: Barkley pen 9-12
72 mins: Mallon try 9-17
Cards: yellow card Salesi Finau (2 mins), Daniel Browne (16 mins), Grewcock (80 mins)

David Rose
Northampton Saints - Try: Mallon; Pens: Reihana (4).
Bath Rugby - Pens: Barkley (3)

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