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Challenge Cup: London Broncos made to sweat by Featherstone Rovers
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London Broncos avoided a Challenge Cup shock although they were given a run for their money before securing a 24-12 success over Featherstone Rovers.
Rovers knocked Castleford Tigers out of the competition last year and only two tries a piece from Luke Dorn and Kieran Dixon helped Tony Rea's side book their place in the fifth round draw.
Featherstone set about their task with gusto early on. Huge hits laid out both Mark Bryant and Craig Gower within the opening two minutes. It was Rovers who made all the early running, prompted by impressive stand-off Andy Kain.
The hosts were simply unable to get out of their own half, and Featherstone finally took a deserved lead on 25 minutes, Ian Hardman squirming over after a series of thrusts near the Broncos' line.
London finally flickered into life after that through the likes of Dixon, but offered precious little creativity in attack and found the Rovers' defence as committed as their own. Indeed, Featherstone probably felt hard done by to only enter the break 4-0 ahead.
London came out with a modicum more enthusiasm after the restart, pinning back Rovers without ever looking truly threatening. The Championship side, well marshalled by skipper Liam Finn, showed no signs of tiring.
Huffed and puffed
But, having huffed and puffed for so long, the Broncos finally struck back when Dixon strolled over in the corner after a sniping run from Ben Fisher.
And within minutes the Londoners had eased ahead, Jamie O'Callaghan pouncing on 55 minutes after Michael Witt's high kick had unsettled the Rovers' defence.
If the Super League side thought that would knock the visitors out of their stride they were sorely mistaken, as three minutes later Featherstone hauled themselves level when Hardman muscled over for his second score after a searing break from Tommy Saxton.
The game had really opened up by now and it was London's turn to strike next, Dorn touching down after Witt's clever grubber through had given him space.
The Broncos were finally getting on top and stretched two scores ahead on 68 minutes, Dorn showing good strength to cross for his second try after a neat inside pass from O'Callaghan.
But Rovers still were not finished, Kain ducking and diving before racing clear to touch down with eight minutes remaining. It was Dixon who rounded off the scoring, though, darting over in the corner from a long pass from Gower in the dying seconds.