Published: 11:48, 10 January 2022
| Updated: 11:48, 10 January 2022
Medway were given a scare by lowly London Irish Wild Geese, winning 25-24 in London 1 South after the hosts fought back from 25-5 down.
All the action came in the second half, with Max Bullock, Alfie Orris and a penalty try putting Medway in control, before a yellow card for Sean Marriott gave the hosts the numerical advantage and saw a late fightback.
Medway coach Taff Gwilliam said: “This was a much-improved Irish side who battled hard.
"We are just pleased to have secured victory in the conditions but given we were in control 25-5 up with 20 minutes to go we have to look at how we close games out.
"If London Irish keep this side together they will do well in the second half of the season.”
The only points of the first half were via Owen Church-Mills' 39th-minute penalty, which also earned the home side a yellow card for persistent infringement.
Medway had their chances, though, with a try disallowed for Antony Clement and Tom Beaumont held up over the line.
Clement was forced to leave the field at half-time with a leg injury, but Medway needed just two minutes as the second half began to score their first try.
With Wild Geese a man down they looked to kick out deep but were unable to find touch. Medway counter-attacked with Jack Johnson beating the kick chase. Johnson fed Beaumont who offloaded to Bullock and he beat the scramble defence to score an unconverted try in the corner.
Irish responded five minutes later when their fly-half kicked in behind the Medway defence and their full-back won the race for the touchdown. The try was also unconverted.
On 53 minutes the hosts gave away a penalty and Church-Mills struck it well for an 11-5 lead. From the kick-off Medway gained possession and kicked deep. Irish gathered the ball and kicked back - only for Orris to catch and counter attack. The pace of Orris saw him cut through and score under the posts, with Church-Mills converting.
On 64 minutes Beaumont was stopped just short of the line. The home team knocked on and the resultant Medway scrum drove for the whitewash. Jordan Stubbington controlled the drive and the home scrum-half dived in as Medway were about to score, leading to a penalty try.
From the restart Medway failed to gather the ball. Irish won a penalty and a quick tap and go saw Marriott tackle the ball carrier inside the 10 metres, resulting in a yellow.
It was from this point that Wild Geese threatened a comeback. When they narrowed Medway's defence the ball was sent out wide for a try and within five minutes they scored again. A kick in behind from their fly-half saw them win the race for the touchdown against a short-handed defence. The conversion narrowed the gap to eight points.
With just five minutes left after a catch and drive was halted Irish forced their way over in the corner and added the extras to move within a point of the visitors. However with Medway now restored to their full complement, the hosts could not get out of their half in the minutes that remained.
Medway, third in the table, visit fourth-placed Hammersmith & Fulham on Saturday.