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Bradford Salem pay the penalty as Evans puts boot in
West Leeds 30 Bradford Salem 19
Bradford Salem made a disappointing start to 2013 after they went down to local rivals West Leeds in bizarre circumstances.
The Heaton side scored three first-half tries and would have been confident of securing a bonus point win but it all went horribly wrong for the visitors in the second half.
Despite having the better of the early exchanges, Salem went behind 0-3 when West Leeds fly-half Scott Evans struck over a penalty.
However, the visitors then hit a purple patch and they took the lead when skipper and Number 8 Damien Pearson stretched over the line for a try improved by fly-half Andy Robinson to put his side 7-3 ahead.
Then shortly after, Salem extended their advantage when centre Sam Savage burst through a gap in mid-field to score an excellent try under the posts, Robinson adding the simple conversion to take his side into a 14-3 lead.
The Bradford side was now on a high and after good handling in the backs, winger Amesh Ahir was sent clear on the right and he finished strongly in the corner.
Robinson was unable to land the touchline conversation but Salem looked like they could add to their tally of 19 points with half-time approaching.
Unfortunately, from the restart, prop Simon Davies had a sudden rush of blood and his long miss-pass went forward which led to Salem being pinned inside their own half.
As a result, the home side managed to regain some composure and two further Evans penalties reduced the deficit to 9-19 to give them some hope of a fight-back.
The second half proved to be a nightmare for Salem and indiscipline seemed to get them on the wrong side of young referee Tom Lyes who was on exchange from the East Midlands Society.
Penalty after penalty seemed to go in West Leeds' favour and Evans gratefully accepted the points on offer. Four successful penalties gave West Leeds a 21-19 lead and Salem's frustrations were compounded when Lyes sent prop Jordan Ashworth, scrum-half Dave Howcroft and full-back Danny Belcher to the sin-bin for technical offences.
Despite being down to 13 men in the final ten minutes, Salem threw caution to the wind but this inevitably led to mistakes and three further Evans penalties, which gave the West Leeds marksman a personal haul of 30 points, put the home side out of reach.
The only plus for Salem was that, despite the huge penalty account against them, they somehow managed to prevent their opponents from crossing their line.
The defeat for Salem drops them to seventh in the table and they will need to string together a good run of results if they are to regain some respectability.