Halifax boss Richard Marshall praised his players’ resilience after they overcame the odds to turn an error-strewn performance at Oldham into a crucial 30-12 Championship win.
With no margin for error in the race for a top four finish, Fax’s win kept the heat on fourth-placed Featherstone, who still sit three points clear with just five games remaining.
Full back Will Sharp, who Marshall labelled as “excellent”, scored two tries in the day’s outstanding individual performance as the visitors came home strongly in the closing stages after the scores had been locked at 12-12.
But it was a victory that came against the statistical odds, with the visitors coming up with a litany of basic errors, mainly as they tried to escape their own half, that invited Scott Naylor’s side to pile on the pressure.
“If you look at all the stats from that game, I think you’d expect to see a loss and certainly I think we could look at three or four games like that that we’ve lost this season,” said Marshall.
“It’s a positive that we’ve managed to come out on the right side of this one.
“Our ball control was woeful; we were poles apart from last week at Sheffield, certainly with the ball.
“But we were very good defensively and we had to be.
“We showed lots of character and resilience, because I honestly think Oldham’s league position belies the level they can play at.
“They put us under a lot of pressure in that heat and we came through, it will probably do us good.
“Physically they were very good and if George Tyson had got that pass right to Scott Leatherbarrow at 12-12 the complexion of the game might have been different.
“But we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position really.
“I was just relieved we had some points on the board at half time, because we’d been terrible.
“We never got a foothold in the game, never got any momentum.
“I was very frustrated at half time, probably the most frustrated I’ve been all season.”
Oldham scored twice early in the second half to seize the initiative at 12-12, but Fax finally bolted their game back together in the final quarter, with hooker Brandon Moore and loose forward Simon Grix both turning in influential second spells.
“We had a 20 minute block when we played like we can, with Brandon and Simon really sparking us up when they came back on,” said Marshall.
“Credit to the players, they got us into that position and they got us out of it.”