Fax lead at the break, but cannot hold title favourites KR at Craven Park

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Halifax went closer than anyone else has done to beating Championship favourites Hull KR with a terrific performance at Craven Park, eventually slipping to a 28-14 reverse in front of a crowd of more than 7,000.

Richard Marshall’s side led 14-8 at the break against Tim Sheens’ unbeaten full timers and were level until the 66th minute, when England hooker Shaun Lunt split the line to create the gamebreaking score for Jordan Abdull.

It was cruel on Fax, who suffered in the second half from a lack of quality possession, but the visitors can take plenty of positives from the most difficult away day they are likely to face all year.

The first half had been a contest from the first whistle, but it was Rovers who eventually broke a 15-minute arm wrestle when Jamie Ellis kicked a penalty to give them a 2-0 lead.

If that was a sign of respect for the opposition, Fax returned it in kind on 24 minutes, Steve Tyrer tapping over an easy two points as the visitors piled on the pressure.

Gareth Moore became more influential as the half wore on and when he slipped through the line and turned the ball outside to Shane Grady, the back rower powered away to score the opening try.

Tyrer converted for an 8-2 lead after 32 minutes, and they were almost in again when the centre slipped a sharp pass to Jake Bibby, only for the winger to see the ball slip from his grasp.

And Rovers looked to have secured parity at the break when Australian Maurice Blair powered in, Ellis converting for 8-8.

But deep in injury time, Murrell kicked high and deep across the field and James Saltonstall rose high above Kieren Moss to claim the ball and touchdown, Tyrer adding the goal from the sideline to make it 14-8 at the interval.

The home side came out predictably revved up for the second period and slowly turned the screw on their opponents until they finally cracked; a cruel error from Will Sharp, who was terrific all game, putting a try on a plate for James Greenwood.

Ellis levelled at 14-14, and when Lunt - who looked a different class when his pack started rolling forward in the final quarter - set up Abdull, you sensed the game was probably up.

Ellis added the conversion for 20-14 and then a penalty for 22-14, before a late Moss try, converted by Ellis, gave the scoreline a fairly flattering gloss as far as the home side were concerned.

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Bibby; Murrell, Moore; Boyle, Kaye, Cahalane, Grady, Grix, Fairbank. Subs: Barber, Lannon, Wood, Tangata

Hull KR: Cockayne; Moss, Minns, Heffernan, Shaw; Abdull, Ellis; Scruton, Lunt, Kavanagh, Blair, Greenwood, Donaldson. Subs: Clarkson, Salter, Mulhern, Addy

Referee: R. Hicks