Barnes kick-starts Portsmouth survival charge

12/11/11  sport''Portsmouth in black/yellow V Cobham, rugby action at Hilsea. Pictured is Portsmouth's Andy Barnes scoring a conversion''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114006-11)
12/11/11 sport''Portsmouth in black/yellow V Cobham, rugby action at Hilsea. Pictured is Portsmouth's Andy Barnes scoring a conversion''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114006-11)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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A late Andy Barnes penalty kept Portsmouth’s London one south survival hopes alive as they edged to a 27-24 win over Sidcup at Rugby Camp.

After romping into a 24-7 lead at the break the Rugby Camp side almost threw the game away.

But Barnes kept his nerve, two minutes from time, to win the game.

‘We played total rugby in the first half and we were in complete control,’ said coach Ian Chandler.

‘The bonus point was wrapped up after 25 minutes.’

‘Then nerves got the better of us and we conceded the softest try ever to let them back into the game.

‘We lost two influential players in Gareth Richards and Rob Giquel through injury, which didn’t help.

‘At 24 all and with their conversion to come, I thought we had blown it.

‘They missed the kick and that gave us a lifeline.’

Portsmouth started quickly with two tries in the opening eight minutes – through forward Harry Cripps and winger Lee Norman.

Barnes added one conversion before Sidcup hit back with a try of their own.

Portsmouth shrugged that off and added two more tries of their own before half-time.

Second-row Ian French and Norman both went over.

The home side were coasting but that soon changed in the second half after gifting Sidcup their soft try.

A speculative kick ahead from the Sidcup outside-half was touched down by the following up prop with two Portsmouth defenders just looking at each other.

With the game slipping away from them Barnes lined up his kick against the wind.

And to the relief of the home faithful sent it sailing through the posts.

‘We need to win both our last two games and hope Trojans slip up if we are to stay in the league,’ said Chandler.