Leigh 58 Sheffield 18: Aston’s early red card scuppers any chance of Eagles’ surprise

Any hopes Sheffield may have had of creating an upset at league leaders Leigh disappeared after five minutes with a red card for Cory Aston.

A gritty, defiant performance followed but it was damage limitation as the Lancashire team scored 10 tries.

Scrum-half Aston, son of the club’s head coach, on his recall to the team was sent off for a reckless tackle on Gregg McNally.

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The impact of playing with 12 men was instant as Gareth Hock found a gap and sent Greg Worthington over with Martin Ridyard adding the goal.

The Centurions backed that up with McNally finishing from Ryan Brierley’s pass. Sheffield battled to force a follow-up set but were hit by a sucker punch with a 90-metre interception try for Brierley.

The game could have run away from Sheffield but helped by penalties they steadied before a second interception by Brierley who sent in centre Adam Higson.

Eagles fans enjoyed a brief lift with centre Sam Smeaton picking up a loose ball to go 70 metres to the line.

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Leigh hit back with winger Liam Kay going in. Ridyard couldn’t add his fifth conversion.

Eagles made a great start to the second half with Dave Petersen scooting over.

Leigh capitalised on errors as McNally completed his hat-trick with two tries in three minutes.

Kay claimed his second but Sheffield showed spirit with Duane Straugheir crossing and Kyle Briggs kicking his only goal.

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A feisty encounter saw Hock and Misi Taulapapa sent to the sin bin after a clash. Kay completed his hat-trick with his 26th try of the season.

Centre Tom Armstrong crossed with Ridyard kicking his ninth goal but Sheffield ended a tough afternoon with Taulalapa claiming their fourth try.

Leigh: McNally; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Dixon, Goulden, Hock. Substitutes: Higham, Hopkins, Spencer, Wilkes.

Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Smeathon, Worrincy; Briggs, Aston; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Davies, Taulapapa. Substitutes: Petersen, Battye, Straugheir, Tonks.

Referee: M Woodhead (RFL).

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