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Danny Cleare's late try secures Southend victory against Bournemouth
DANNY Cleare’s late try secured Southend a dramatic 39-36 win at Bournemouth in National Two South on Saturday.
The 26-year-old winger touched down in the closing stages to complete a stunning late fight back for the Seasiders.
And Cleare was delighted to be able to help Southend come out on top.
“All the hard work was done before I got the ball for the try but it was great to get the win,” said Cleare.
“We scored three tries in the last eight minutes so we made hard work of it and our defence wasn’t really good enough.
“But we were still able to grind out the win so that’s good news and now we want to get back to winning ways at home.”
Southend, who are now sixth in the table, went in front when Brad Burr kicked a penalty but Bournemouth replied immediately when winger Benjamin Stewart raced over and Daniel Pollard added the conversion.
However, the Seasiders soon hit back with a try from Mark Billings which Burr converted to make it 10-7.
Moments later, outside centre Liam MacGeachy also touched down for the first time since coming back to the club and Burr’s conversion, which was followed by a penalty, put Southend 20-7 in front.
That should have set the Seasiders up for a comfortable afternoon, but Bournemouth cut that lead to 20-12 at half-time.
And, within two minutes of the restart, a try from number eight Gavin Hart which Pollard converted meant the home-side were just a point behind Southend.
Bournemouth continued to attack and bagged a further 10 points in the next 20 minutes to lead 29-20.
A try from Pollard then made it 29 answered points to put the home-side 16 points in front with just 10 minutes to go.
But Southend refused to give in and got themselves back in to the game with a try from Alex Harrison.
Moments later, the fit again Craig Strachan did likewise to cut Bournemouth’s lead to 36-32.
The Seasiders then collected the ball from the kick-off and raced forward again.
Quick hands along the three quarters saw it arrive with winger Cleare who pinned his ears back and dodged tackles to touch down.
Burr converted the try with the last kick of the game to ensure Southend got back to winning ways after two successive defeats to move up to sixth in the table.