Marshall concerned by flaws but Fax climb into Championship top four

James Saltonstall scores for Fax
James Saltonstall scores for Fax

Halifax coach Richard Marshall saw his side clamber into a top four spot in the Championship with a 36-32 home win over lowly Workington.

But Marshall admitted Fax had very nearly been the “architects of our own downfall” as Town almost closed what had looked an unbridgeable 20-point gap inside the final 10 minutes.

Fax had been sporadically impressive with ball in hand, scoring some slickly worked tries, but were grateful to a crucial tackle and ball steal from man of the match Dane Manning as Town threatened on the final play of the match.

But with Batley losing at Leigh and Featherstone coming unstuck at Oldham, it was the Shay side who profited on the league ladder.

“We were the architects of our own downfall, but luckily we’d scored enough points to get away with it,” said Marshall, whose side host Super League Widnes in the Challenge Cup next Sunday (3.0).

“With 15 minutes to go, we were well in control, then a couple of decisions go their way, they get a couple of quick tries and it’s the Swinton game all over again.

“That was largely our doing, although they didn’t look like a bottom of the table team; teams do that though, they come here and they have a go and we nearly succumbed.

“But I’m proud of our efforts and I’m proud of the work they did in the second half that made sure we had enough to win.

“Winning was the priority today, even though it wasn’t pretty.

“We’d like to have scored more, and conceded far less, but we’ve got some winning momentum to take into the Widnes game next week.”

Marshall again changed his starting line up, but while it paid dividends in possession, the defence continued to flounder at times, with only Manning’s late intervention warding off potential embarrassment.

“Dane cleaned the game up at the end,” said Marshall, who had prop Mitch Cahalane stretchered off with a neck/shoulder injury that saw him taken to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment and further tests.

“He was everywhere again, phenomenal really, and he’s a great bloke to work with.

“We only have one of him though and we’ve got other blokes who work really hard.

“We’ve just not quite clicked, but we’ve had enough to come through again, which makes it less of a concern.

“We’ve got a few injuries; Mitch is obviously the biggest concern and he’s gone to hospital; hopefully it’s just precautionary.”