CRAIG LINGARD was left disappointed with the officials after two key decisions saw them on the losing side in the Championship’s first taste of golden-point extra time.
Golden-point was introduced ahead of the new season with the twist that both teams would get a point after 80 minutes with the winners in extra time claiming an extra point.
That gave Batley something of a consolation after Izaac Farrell, a former loan player at Mount Pleasant, gave Sheffield the win in the most dramatic of circumstances in the 88th minute.
The Bulldogs recovered from 10 points down to level the game and there was no winner in the first half of extra-time, with Shaun Lunt slicing the only drop-goal attempt under the bar.
When they were pulled back for a Lucas Walshaw forward pass in the second period, Sheffield had their chance and Farrell slotted over for his side’s first league win of the season (18-19), but Lingard was left to rue two big decisions.
“We got pulled back for a forward pass and it’s not a forward pass in a month of Sundays,” he said.
“Even more disappointingly, for the drop goal Dane Manning has made the tackle and he’s seen that Farrell is setting up for the drop goal. He’s trying to get out and put pressure on and Scott Wheeldon has just grabbed Dane and held him back so he can’t put any pressure on.
“We showed some character to get back into the game, level it and get a point for the draw, but I still think we should have done enough in the 80 minutes to see that game out.”
On their failure to get the winning field goal, Lingard added: “It’s not something that you practice for. We had the first go and Shaun Lunt went for it. If it goes between the sticks people will call him a legend but unfortunately it didn’t happen and Sheffield got the point.”
Lunt was involved for the first dramatic moment of the game. A Danny Yates grubber caused chaos when Wheeldon’s kick failed to clear the danger and Lunt was illegally knocked off the ball as he attempted to ground, with the officials awarding a penalty try which Dale Morton converted.
Sheffield did most of the attacking for the rest of the half but only in the final 10 minutes before the break did they register points. A quick passing move finished with brothers Joel and Izaac Farrell combining to send Ryan Millar into the corner.
Ex-Bulldog Joel Farrell was sent to the sin bin for dissent for protesting a decision when the Eagles came close to scoring, but the extra man didn’t help his old side at the beginning of the second half as Aaron Brown dived onto a James Davey kick to give the visitors the lead for the first time.
Not long after, Batley were suddenly 10 points down as Millar somehow acrobatically kept a kick in play and Brown claimed the ball to score again.
The home side’s response came in just as unusual a fashion as their opening try. A kick close to the line was deflected off a foot, hit the base of the post, and Alistair Leak was the quickest to react, grasp the ball and touch down.
Izaac Farrell added to his two earlier conversions with a penalty but a six-point cushion looked vulnerable with the Bulldogs heading down the slope and so it proved, with James Brown crashing over from Lunt’s short pass to set up the game’s mad conclusion.