HALIFAX boss Karl Harrison promised his table-topping outfit a “video nasty” after seeing them edge past Keighley in a titanic local derby at the Shay last night.
Fax eventually triumphed 13-12 after stand off Paul Handforth kicked a drop goal to break a 12-12 deadlock with 13 minutes remaining.
That stretched Fax’s Co-operative Championship winning streak to four games, but while Harrison was happy with three league points, he had some concerns over aspects of his team’s performance
“In the end, we won, we are top of the league and there are nights when you need to fight really hard to get the win,” said the former Great Britain prop, who saw his players lose 6-0 and 12-6 first half leads as the Cougars squared things up by the break.
“We did that, we hung in there, and got the result we deserved in the end.
“After we kicked the drop goal, we played field position a lot better and apart from one 40 metre drop goal attempt from Sam Obst they never looked like scoring.
“If we had done that in the first half, instead of turning the ball over so much, we would have looked a lot more dangerous.
“I suppose it’s a stepping stone for us, we can do a bit of a fix-it-up video nasty next week and prepare for the Challenge Cup game against South Wales next weekend.
“We prepared the players for a dogfight and that’s exactly what we got.
“We prepared a plan to counteract what Keighley were going to do, and for whatever reason the players didn’t stick to that.
“Certain individuals who see a lot of the ball were a bit under par.
“The conditions didn’t help, it was very greasy out there, and I thought Keighley played a really solid game.
“They had a solid kicking game and dominated field position at times, but we showed a lot of resilience to hang in there at times and then fight our way back into it.”
The game was remarkable for both a low penalty count – referee Jamie Leahy awarding just one before the break and only four after it – and slower-than-average play the balls.
And while Harrison steadfastly refused to criticise the match officials, he admitted he would have liked a faster contest.
“Each referee interprets things differently, but I don’t think Keighley dominated the tackle to the extent that they deserved as much time as they got,” he said. “When we play quick we look dangerous, but we didn’t find those quick play the balls too many times last night.
“Some of that was down to Keighley and their tackle technique, but a lot of that was down to us showing a lack of deception at times.
“The link between the halves was poor and while Anthony Thackeray looked dangerous, he never really got enough of the ball.
“That was a big part of the plan and it didn’t really function for us.”