ADAM Fletcher refused to entirely blame a first-half red card for his Lymm side’s defeat to Billingham on Saturday.

The home side went down 24-13 at Beechwood having had second row Matty Connelly sent off on the stroke of half time after a scuffle between both sets of players.

Lymm, who brought former Sale Sharks man and Samoan international Johnny Leota off the bench, trailed by just one point at that stage but the visitors took advantage of the extra man after the interval.

Scott Redfern’s late interception try and conversion briefly raised hopes of a comeback, with Cormac Nolan having earlier kicked two penalties as both teams braved icy conditions.

“The red card obviously had a big impact on the outcome of the game, but it wasn’t the only reason we lost the game,” Fletcher said.

“We played some great rugby in the first half but being critical, I actually think we let them off the hook by 7-10 points.

“Billingham kept hold of the ball very well in the second half and used the extra man they had to their advantage.

“Billingham were clinical – they put away each chance they created.

“I’m happy that we are creating chances but to win these close matches, we have to start converting line breaks and pressure into points.”

Lymm’s next game sees them visit in-form Blackburn on Saturday.

Team: Gav Woods, Adam Bray, Kurt Riley, Matty Connelly, James Yates, Ed Morris, Joe Watson, Oli Higginson; Gregor Watson, Scott Redfern; Harry Martin, Ben Stansfield, Steve Pilkington, Rory Riddell, Cormac Nolan. Subs: Jordan Widdrington, Sean Boyce, Johnny Leota