MATCH REPORT: Swinton Lions 14 Doncaster 6

Paul Cooke scored the Dons' only try in the defeat at Swinton Lions.
Paul Cooke scored the Dons' only try in the defeat at Swinton Lions.

LIFE in the Championship does not get any easier for the Dons who suffered their fourth successive defeat at Swinton Lions.

But there was consolation for Tony Miller’s side in a losing bonus point as well as a competitive performance against a strong second tier outfit.

The Dons had the better of the early exchanges and were denied a second minute score by an untimely knock on in the left corner.

But they did take the lead on ten minutes when Paul Cooke reached out to score with Stewart Sanderson slotting over the conversion.

Unfortunately, these proved to be the Dons’ only points of the afternoon in a low scoring encounter.

The Lions had their first real period of pressure on the Dons’ line in the aftermath and saw a try from Rhys Williams ruled out for obstruction in the build up.

But Swinton did get off the mark on 14 minutes with an excellent individual effort.

The Dons attacked into the hosts’ 20 but a pass went to ground, Rhys Evans trapped and picked up to race 70 metres to score in the left corner.

Cooke went close to re-opening the margin while Lee Waterman failed to control a pass in another chance.

Swinton levelled the match on 24 minutes when Ryan Shaw slotted over a penalty after an offside.

The Lions made a period of pressure count as they forced a goal line drop out and pushed hard, leading to their second try.

Danny Bridge advanced on the line before slipping out a pass to Darren Hawkyard who crashed over for the try which left Shaw a simple conversion.

Swinton thought they had extended their lead on the stroke of half time but Williams’ effort was pulled back for a Richie Hawkyard forward pass.

Defences were on top throughout the second half though the Dons pressured early with Waterman and Russ Waller both going close.

It took an interception from the alert Sanderson to deny Swinton a try on the overlap.

But the Lions would extend their lead on 66 minutes when Shaw slotted over another penalty as the Dons were adjudged to have stolen the ball.

The Dons defence remained resolute as Swinton pushed hard.

And they were denied an excellent chance to get back into the game on the break when the final pass to Waller was intercepted by Jack Morrison.

Though smarting from the defeat, the performance will provide a boost of confidence for the Dons ahead of the crucial clash with York City Knights next week.

Dons: Lee Waterman, Dennis Tuffour, Liam Kay, Shaun Leaf, Stewart Sanderson, Paul Cooke, Craig Fawcett, Brett Waller, Mike Emmett, Craig Robinson, Chris Spurr, Grant Edwards

Subs: Nathan Powley, Mick Butterfield, Carl Hughes, Josh Johnson.