Saints given a scare by Treviso

12th Dec 2009, 17:41

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Ben Foden makes a crucial break for the Saints

Ben Foden makes a crucial break for the Saints

Northampton fought back from a 10-point deficit to record a maximum five-point 30-18 Heineken Cup victory over Treviso on Saturday.

Northampton fought back from a 10-point deficit to record a maximum five-point 30-18 Heineken Cup victory over Treviso on Saturday.

Treviso stunned Pool One when they beat Perpignan 9-8 in October so Northampton were taking no chances and fielded a powerful line-up led by England hooker Dylan Hartley.

The Italian side took the lead in the sixth minute following a blunder by fly-half Shane Geraghty.

The England back tried to chip Benjamin Vermaak inside the Saints 22, but the big lock grabbed the ball and jogged in behind the home posts, Tobias Botes converting.

Geraghty made partial amends in the 13th minute, kicking a penalty from 25 yards, but the home side continued making costly errors which led to a sustained period of pressure from the visitors.

They were rewarded when fly-half Marius Goosen swept home a drop-goal to send Treviso into the second quarter leading 10-3.

The first sign of Northampton's potential threat came in the 23rd minute when full-back Ben Foden sped between Andy Vilk and Goosen only for Luke McLean to block his attempted chip and chase.

Geraghty missed a 27th-minute penalty and Botes also missed a shot at goal but when Saints tried to run the ball clear they conceded a scrum and fell further behind when Goosen arrowed home his second drop-goal.

Saints were awarded a penalty two minutes from the break for a lineout offence and Geraghty kicked for touch. It appeared to pay off when James Downey crossed the line, but was adjudged to have been held up.

That sparked the best spell from Northampton as Treviso were forced to concede three further penalties to protect their line.

But the wall was breached finally on the stroke of half-time when the ball was whipped from right to left and Foden scored on the left with help from Jon Clarke. Geraghty missed the conversion.

Northampton made a sizzling start to the second half, scoring in the left-hand corner in the 43rd minute.

Forward power created the platform and when Geraghty fired a long, flat pass left, it was finished off by Joe Ansbro. Geraghty again missed the conversion.

Treviso were opened up again three minutes later, a sweeping move finishing with Foden releasing Chris Ashton to score between the posts, his 12th try in 13 games. This time Geraghty made no mistake adding the extra points.

Geraghty was now turning on the magic and one lovely inside pass unhinged the door in the 54th minute. Once again Saints worked a two-on-one, this time on the right, and it was Ashton who scored with Geraghty converting.

G oosen scored on the left in the 59th minute as Northampton failed to clear their lines and when Courtney Lawes was sin-binned for retaliation, Treviso sensed an opportunity to regain the upper hand.

But it was Northampton next to score, Stephen Myler hammering over a 30-yard penalty in the 68th minute, rounding off the win.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: Foden, Ansbro, Ashton 2
Cons: Geraghty 2
Pens: Geraghty, Myler

For Treviso:
Tries: Vermaak, Gilbride
Con: Botes
Drop goals: Goosen 2

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Joe Ansbro, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Neil Best, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Brian Mujati, 18 Santiago Bonorino, 19 Juandre Kruger, 20 Scott Gray, 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Chris Mayor.

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andy Vilk, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Tobias Botes, 10 Marius Goosen, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Dion Kingi, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Benjamin Vermaak, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello (capt), 3 Ignacio Rouyet, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Diego Vidal, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Augusto Allori, 19 Enrico Pavenello, 20 Enrico Ceccato, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Fraser Waters, 23 Emiliano Mulieri.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Ronnie Dumma (Scotland)
Television match official: David Herbert (Wales)