Fax lose again as second half comeback falls agonisingly short at Odsal

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Halifax went down to a fourth straight Championship loss as Bradford levelled the season’s derby account at 2-2 with a 24-20 win at Odsal.

Simon Grix’s side left themselves with far too much to do after a first half performance littered with individual errors saw them trail 20-8 at the break and 24-8 shortly after.

But they stormed back into the contest in the final quarter, with Bradford’s George Flanagan in the sin bin after he tripped Fax full back Scott Grix.

Tries from hooker Brandon Moore, who finished off some enterprising play down the middle, and Quentin Laulu-Togagae, after centre Steve Tyrer made the chance, were both converted by Tyrer for a 24-20 scoreline with almost 15 minutes remaining.

At that stage the comeback was very much on, but the Bulls regained their composure sufficiently to survive some anxious final minutes and leave Fax empty handed.

Earlier, the visitors started the game with an error; Grix and Shaun Robinson combining well but QLT, who looks a shadow of the player Fax saw in 2018, strayed too near the sideline and was shovelled into touch.

Bradford profited almost immediately, Joe Keyes hoisting the ball to the corner and the usually reliable Will Sharp finding himself out jumped by Ethan Ryan, Keyes converting for a 6-0 lead.

Fax found themselves on the back foot again immediately when Scott Murrell kicked out on the full, with Keyes eventually adding a penalty for 8-0 after James Saltonstall was penalised in possession.

Fax finally secured an attacking foothold with the game almost 20 minutes old and made it count, QLT and Tyrer slipping Robinson over in the corner.

Tyrer converted to cut the deficit to 6-8, but the visitors continued to fumble, with mistakes from Murrell and Moore leading to tries from Elliot Minchella and Jy Hitchcox, Keyes converting both as Bradford pulled out to 20-6 just past the half hour.

The visitors somehow survived to half time, with Tyrer even adding a penalty on the hooter after Murrell had been taken high.

The suspicion lingered that Fax had simply done too much work without the ball to be an effective second half threat and when Hitchcox scored his second try four minutes after the restart, the Bulls led 24-8.

But the visitors slowly worked their way back into the contest and when Flanagan landed himself with a yellow card, Fax suddenly found themselves on the front foot.

Ultimately though, it was Bradford who held on for victory.

Bradford: Pickersgill; Ryan, Webster, Oakes, Hitchcox; Keyes, Lilley; Magrin, Hallas, Crossley, Garside, Farrell, Minchella. Subs: Flanagan, Wood, Roche, Storton

Halifax: Grix; Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Sharp; Murrell, Laulu-Togagae; Kavanagh, Moore, Morris, Cooper, Butler, Tangata. Subs: Johnston, Clark, Fairbank, Larroyer

Referee: Jack Smith

Attendance: 5,203