Reds leave it late

21st Feb 2011, 06:56

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Vital score: Saia Faingaa crosses over for the Reds' opening try

Vital score: Saia Faingaa crosses over for the Reds' opening try

The Reds pulled off an unlikely win over the Western Force after edging their Aussie rivals 21-20 at the death in Brisbane on Sunday.

The Reds pulled off an unlikely win over the Western Force after edging their Aussie rivals 21-20 at the death in Brisbane on Sunday.

The visitors had led the Suncorp Stadium scrap for the majority of the match, with Force pivot James O'Connor contributing all of his sides points. However it didn't prove enough as the Reds scored a converted try five minutes from full-time to steal the lead and the match.

The Queenslanders had a pair of hookers to thank after tries from Saia Faingaa and his replacement James Hanson denied the Force a deserved opening win.

O'Connor kicked five penalties and raced 95 metres for a runaway try to overshadow his opposite number, Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper.

The Reds pivot, however, came up with the goods when he needed to, kicking three penalties and converting Hanson's 75th-minute try to give his team a slender lead which they never relinquished.

Cooper opened the scoring with a penalty from the sideline after Nathan Charles was brought up for a high tackle on flanker Ed Quirk. But the Force were in front 11 minutes in as O'Connor responded with two penalties of his own.

A high turnover count kept the game open but the Force remained on top with good defence as O'Connor and Cooper traded penalties.

Will Chambers dropped the ball in the in-goal after collecting Cooper's perfectly-weighted grubber kick and the Reds missed a golden opportunity to hit back.

Cameron Shepherd went close to scoring the first try when he ran at the line after a well-worked set-piece but James Horwill held the ball up with a last-gasp tackle.

O'Connor sent over a penalty to put the Force 12-6 ahead at the break after Rod Davies had been yellow-carded for his part in a sideline scuffle.

The Reds tried to keep it tight in the second half but the mistakes continued even though Cooper slotted another penalty to reduce the arrears to three points.

Cooper missed the chance to level the scores when the Force were penalised for off-side.

O'Connor stretched the lead with 20 minutes to play as the Reds conceded a penalty as they kept the Force at bay close to the Queensland tryline.

A surprise line-out play finally provided the Reds with the chance to breach the Storm try line as Faingaa took a short throw to Scott Higginbotham before the hooker received a return pass and scampered over the line.

But the Reds still trailed 15-14 after Cooper missed the difficult conversion attempt.

A 10-minute stint in the sin-bin for deliberately slowing down play for Ben McCalman handed the advantage to the Reds but O'Connor then gave the impetus back to the visitors.

A stray pass from Cooper with the Reds attacking bounced back off Anthony Faingaa and the Force fly-half pounced on the loose ball before running 90 metres to touch down.

But the man advantage told and the Reds forced Hanson over. The conversion from Cooper put Queensland 21-20 ahead.

Cooper kicked against the post on full-time but the home side had done enough to win.

The scorers:
For Reds:
Tries: S Faingaa, Hanson
Cons: Cooper
Pens:Cooper 3

For Western Force:
Try: O'Connor
Pens: O'Connor 5

Reds: 15 Peter Hynes, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Will Chambers, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 James Horwill, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Van Humphries, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Scott Higginbotham, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Aidan Toua.

Western Force: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Gene Fairbanks, 11 David Smith, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Ben McCalman, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Ben Whittaker, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Tevita Metuisela, 20 James Stannard, 21 Alfie Mafi, 22 Rory Sidey.

Referee: Ian Smith