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The Houston SaberCats Hold On To Beat NYAC 39-38

The SaberCats Were Given A Tough Test From NYAC


New York Athletic Club got the scoring started early in this game. After some early pressure, NYAC was able to earn a penalty almost in front of the posts. Harry Bennett put it through the posts to give NYAC an early 3-0 lead.

Houston put their own pressure on NYAC forcing them into a 22 meter dropout. After a few phases of play, Sam Windsor was able to dot down for the SaberCats. Zach Pangelinan with the conversion to make it 7-3 Houston.

After a couple of penalty misses Pangelinan makes up for it with a try. Cecil Garber trucked Greg Voigt after stealing a NYAC lineout and a few phases later Pangelinan dots down for the try. He converts his own try and puts Houston up 14-3.

Houston is a pressure team and their defense provided their next try. After a NYAC scrum, Connor Murphy quick with the hands after a drop from Mike Webb was able to run it in and another Pangelinan conversion makes it 21-3 SaberCats.

On the following kickoff, Harry Bennett was able to steal the ball from Kyle Sumsion and score a try of his own. He followed with the conversion and NYAC down 21-10. Pangelinan is off once again on a penalty kick, but after a 22 meter dropout from NYAC, Osea Kolinisau was able to break a tackle and offload to Josua Vici for the try. Pangelinan off with the conversion, SaberCats up 26-10.

After a SaberCats penalty, NYAC was able to maul their way over the try line. Kirkland Hamilton with the front row try. Bennett with the conversion, NYAC down 26-17. After an off kick off from the SaberCats, they stole NYAC's lineout and Vici dotted down under the posts for his second try. Connor Murphy puts the conversion through the posts to put the SaberCats up 33-17 at the half.

The scoring didn't get started as early in the second half, but NYAC was the first to score. After being held up twice, Anthony Parry was finally able to dot down for NYAC. Harry Bennett with the conversion to bring the score back to within single digits 33-24.

After a couple of phases, the SaberCats were able to get on the board in the second half. Sam Windsor with the penalty kick right in front of the posts to put the SaberCats up 36-24. Windsor with a penalty miss. Houston putting NYAC under tremendous pressure led to lazy penalties from NYAC. The SaberCats just couldn't take advantage with four penalty misses.

The Windsor-Esdale connection just missed. Sam Windsor had fantastic vision and put the cross field kick towards Malacchi Esdale and it was just out of Esdale's reach. Pago Haini was given a yellow card for no arms in the tackle.

Seamus Kelly then took advantage of the man advantage for a NYAC try between the posts. Bennett with the conversion to bring NYAC within five, 36-31. Sam Windsor with the penalty kick to put the SaberCats up 39-31. A beauty of a kick from the SaberCats side of the field; an estimated 54 meter kick.

Anthony Parry got his second try of the match. Bennett with the conversion to bring NYAC within one, 39-38. NYAC looked to take advantage of a Houston penalty, but the SaberCats were able to steal the lineout and kick to touch to end the game.

This was a great match. NYAC brought their best. At times it looked like Houston was going to run away with the match, but NYAC hung in there. The difference in this game ended up being Sam Windsor's +50 meter penalty kick.

The future looks bright for New York in Major League Rugby. Houston is back again next week and we'll get our first look at MLR action as the SaberCats take on the NOLA Gold.

Scoring
NYAC

Tries Harry Bennett 27, Kirkland Hamilton 36, Anthony Parry 2 (51, 79) Seamus Kelly 73

Cons Bennett 4/4

Pens Bennett 2/2 (5,40)


Houston

Tries Sam Windsor 6, Zach Pangelinan 18, Connor Murphy 23, Josua Vici 2 (28, 36)

Cons Pangelinan 3/4, Murphy 1/1

Pens Pangelinan 0/3 (15,17,28), Windsor 2/3 (56,59,78)

Yellow Cards Pago Haini 70 (no wrap)

~Josh Fredlund