Northampton slip past Bristol

Date published: January 7 2017

A late penalty and drop goal were decisive in an entertaining match at Franklin's Gardens as Northampton defeated Bristol 32-26.

Bristol had to settle for a losing bonus point which takes them just one point from moving off the bottom of the table, but they were unlucky not to win their third league match in a row.

The game took some time to get going, but it was Northampton who had looked the likeliest to open the scoring and they did so with quarter of an hour on the clock, Louis Picamoles crossed the whitewash from close range after a superb break from George North, with Myler adding the extras.

Afterwards, the match turned on its head with first Jason Woodward scoring three from the tee before the basement side’'s first try of the game handed them the lead.

Jack Wallace and Nick Fenton-Wells combined well before teeing up Mitch Eadie who had plenty to do but did so with aplomb, muscling past his marker to touch down.

Just before the break, Bristol extended their lead and looked good money for a third straight Premiership win, Woodward slotting from the tee, but the hosts had other ideas and scored a deserved try in the final seconds via Mike Haywood with a simple effort. Myler slotted to hand the Saints a one point lead at the break.

After that tight first half, Saints put themselves into a healthy lead as Picamoles picked out Tom Wood, who went over with ease.

Myler slotted over the two points, but a Woodward penalty for the visitors put the game right back in the balance with plenty of time left on the clock.

Bristol took the lead briefly with a converted Woodward try. The key man touched down from short range after a good pass from Tom Varndell, but the hosts were soon back on top with a bonus point try from the restart, JJ Hanrahan blocking a Bristol kick before going over the line, but Woodward levelled the scores with a penalty from range with a quarter of the game still to play.

In the final 10 minutes, another Myler penalty and Harry Mallinder drop goal handed Northampton the lead and in the end Bristol had to settle with a solitary losing bonus point despite arguably deserving more.

The scorers:

For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Picamoles, Haywood, Wood, Hanrahan
Cons: Myler 3
Pen: Myler
Drop Goal: Mallinder

For Bristol:
Tries: Eadie, Woodward
Cons: Woodward 2
Pens: Woodward 4

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles

Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Thretton Palamo 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Olly Robinson (c), 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Luke Arscott

Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Simon McConnell
TMO: Trevor Fisher