Harrison seeks success when it counts

Lee Paterson gets past former teammate Sean Penkywicz
Lee Paterson gets past former teammate Sean Penkywicz

Halifax coach Karl Harrison conceded his team need to make significant improvements against their top four rivals ahead of the climax of the Championship season.

Harrison’s third-placed side missed a chance to break into the top two when they lost 11-4 at fourth-placed Leigh on Wednesday night.

Despite being the dominant team for long periods of a compelling contest, the visitors did not score a try until the 78th-minute, when winger Wayne Reittie scooted over in the corner.

It was Fax’s fourth defeat in six starts against their top four rivals.

“We need to come up with a way of winning these big games,” said the former Great Britain prop, who lost half back Anthony Thackeray early on with ankle injury that looks likely to rule him out of Sunday’s long-haul trip to Barrow.

“It wasn’t for lack of effort, they gave everything they had, but we have to find a way of getting these results.

“For all the huff and puff, we weren’t quite good enough.

“We were poor with the ball. We created enough field position to win four games, but we weren’t there with our passing.

“The passing was slow, the running onto the ball was slow, our attacking kicks were poor; it wasn’t to be.

“We lost our quick half back after five minutes or whatever, which did nothing for the game plan.

“It took the zip out of our offence, Thacks gives us some pace and straightens our attack up and we lost that when he went off.

“Ashall has a slow pass action, Tiger has a slow pass action, Murrell has a slow pass action.

“It was just slow, the ball wasn’t getting to the danger areas as quick as it needed to.

Harrison also defended centre Ben Heaton, who was red carded - along with Leigh prop Anthony Bate - following an all-in brawl just after the half hour mark, leaving both sides to play 50 minutes with 12 men.

The fight erupted on Fax’s left, where Harrison made a thinly-veiled criticism of the tackling technique of a Leigh player, apparently the winger Adam Higson.

“I just saw one of my players getting assaulted by three Leigh players and then get sent off,” he said.

“It’s beyond me, and I’ve watched it again on video.

“At half time, we had seven head wounds to patch up on our left hand side, because a certain player of theirs was going round whacking people and nothing was done about it.

“We’ve a few sore bodies now and we’re a bit broke up.

“We’ll get back in practice on Friday night and focus on the Barrow game.

“It’s a challenge for us, but we need to go there and get a result.”