Halifax coach Karl Harrison confessed it had taken a “special play” to snatch three crucial Co-operative Championship points for his side against Sheffield.
Fax were behind from the sixth minute until the final seconds of normal time against the Eagles, before a chip-and-chase from Paul Handforth set up a second try for his half back partner Anthony Thackeray to seal a 30-26 win.
The result keeps Fax, who were 16-0 behind early on, second on the league ladder, with a four point gap to third-placed Batley with three games - against York, Leigh and Batley - to go.
“The three points were what mattered and they keep us on Featherstone’s tail and keeps the pressure on them,” said Harrison, who had talked before the match about dealing with the comedown from last weekend’s Northern Rail Cup final win over Rovers.
“We need to finish in the top two to have the best chance of getting to the Grand Final.
“That’s what it’s about, from November when you start training, getting to that one game at the end of September.
“There is no point getting there the hard way if you can get there easier by playing fewer games.
“Sheffield were great; we had been speaking all week about the game after the big game, but they still started a lot better than we did.
“It’s very hard; you’re on such a high after a final. They are different games and they can leave you flat.
“We were caught cold, but we have some special players this year who can come up with a big play when we need it.
“Mark Aston’s a good coach, he would have asked Sheffield to start big and they did, getting that 16-0 lead.
“We showed great character and determination to come back and snatch it.
“You have to be in it to win it and we were.
“The competition is so tight this year that if you come up with a below par performance, you are going to get beat.
“In the end, it needed something special.
“I didn’t think the halves played particularly well, but they came up with the matchwinning try.”
Team P W D L F A PTS
Featherstone 15 13 0 2 524 310 39
Halifax 15 12 0 3 499 313 37
Batley 15 9 0 6 455 288 33
Sheffield 15 10 0 5 477 369 33
Leigh 14 10 0 4 466 256 32
Keighley 14 8 0 6 359 238 29
Dewsbury 15 6 0 9 305 450 21
Swinton 15 4 0 11 324 480 17
York 15 1 0 14 234 523 6
Hunslet 15 1 0 14