Halifax threw away a 16-0 lead against Swinton Lions in the Championship, eventually losing 35-38 to a last minute Liam Marshall try.
Impressive winger Marshall, on loan from Wigan Warriors, grabbed his fourth touchdown of the game with a minute remaining to put an unexpected dent in the home side’s top four aspirations.
That scenario had looked unlikely 79 minutes earlier as Halifax made a near-flawless start, scoring twice in the opening eight minutes through full back Miles Greenwood and centre Sam Smeaton, Steve Tyrer’s conversions giving them a 12-0 lead.
That became 16-0 when Jake Eccleston touched down a Gareth Moore kick and the home side looked capable of running away with the contest.
But Swinton battled back, Marshall touching down twice in quick succession as the Halifax defence buckled with uncharacteristic ease.
At 16-10 the Lions were back in the game, but a quickfire double from hooker Brandon Moore and Greenwood, both after excellent play from Scott Murrell, put Halifax 28-10 ahead on the half hour.
But a point-blank Josh Barlow try, converted by Chris Atkin, gave Swinton a lifeline at 28-16 at the break and underlined the home side’s relative lack of intensity.
Swinton came storming out of the blocks for the second period scoring first through Marshall’s hat trick try after a brilliant pass from Macauley Hallett and then again through Atkin’s juggled long-range interception.
That left the game poised at 28-24, although Halifax nearly pulled clear again when Eccleston went for the corner but lost the ball stretching for the line.
They finally cracked their visitors with a close range score from hooker Ben Kaye, converted by Tyrer, but conceded immediately from the kick off, Hallett touching down for Swinton to leave the scores poised at 34-28.
Lions winger Shaun Robinson then pounced on a horrible error from Greenwood, Atkin levelling the scores at 34-34 from the sideline.
Halifax eased back downfield though, with Gareth Moore’s drop goal giving them a 35-34 lead with three minutes to go.
But conceded a penalty from the klck off, which Atkin obligingly put wide, they were powerless to stop Marshall racing in straight from a scrum.
Halifax: Greenwood; Eccleston, Smeaton, Tyrer, Sharp; G. Moore, Murrell; Cahalane, Kaye, Ambler, Manning, Tangata, Fairbank. Subs: R. Moore, B. Moore, Robinson, Bennion
Swinton: Butt; Robinson, Littler, Hallett, Marshall; White, Atkin; Morrison, Nicholson, Hand, Dwyer, Lloyd, Thornley. Subs: Halafihi, Nash, Barlow, Lever
Referee: C. Campbell