Fax back in the top four after winning crucial showdown in Toulouse

editorial image

Halifax moved back into the Championship top four with two games remaining after edging home 16-8 in a crucial contest in Toulouse.

Richard Marshall’s side now sit two points clear of the French outfit, who have now lost their last three games, in a race for a place in the Super 8s Qualifiers that remains evenly balanced.

Both teams have to play Featherstone and leaders Hull KR over the next fortnight, Fax at Post Office Road next week and then at the Shay against Rovers, while the French side head to Craven Park on Sunday before hosting Featherstone on the final day.

In sweltering evening heat, Fax trailed 4-0 early on, but led 8-4 at the break before sneaking clear in a predictably tense second period.

Just as they had at the Summer Bash in Blackpool, the French side seized the earliest of leads, when the former Halifax loanee Clement Boyer, who played a handful of games as Fax finished fourth in 2015, scored from a short pass on the left hand side.

The full back Mark Kheirallah, Fax’s main tormentor the last time the teams met, missed the conversion to leave the home team with a 4-0 lead.

But unlike at Bloomfield Road, where Fax collapsed defensively in the opening minutes, this time they stood firm and when Con Mika left space when he dashed out of the defensive line, Ben Johnston’s grubber kick was pounced on by Steve Tyrer, who levelled at 4-4.

The game ebbed and flowed, with both sides having chances to build pressure, but eventually it was the visitors who broke the deadlock, the fit again Adam Tangata barging over from a play the ball, Tyrer’s second miss of the evening leaving Fax 8-4 up at the break.

Tyrer added a penalty on 51 minutes for 10-4, before Kheirallah got outside the outstanding Will Sharp to score a couple of minutes later, crucially missing the conversion to leave his side trailing 10-8.

Fax slowly began to turn the screw, but chances came and went - Ben Heaton having a try ruled out for a forward pass - before prop Ryan Boyle burst the line and put half back Ben Johnston over for the matchwinner with five minutes remaining, Tyrer converting.

Toulouse: Kheirallah, Minga, Ader, Planas, Maurel, Jouffret, Robin, Boyer, Marion, Canet, Mika, Curran, Bentley. Subs: Kriouache, Puech, Hepi, Nzoungou

Halifax: Sharp, Heaton, Barber, Tyrer, Worrincy, Murrell, Johnston, Cahalane, Moore, Boyle, Grady, Tangata, Grix. Subs: Kaye, Sio, Morris, Douglas

Referee: Ben Thaler