Halifax coach Richard Marshall lauded a ‘first class’ performance from his makeshift side side after they produced a brilliant performance to dump Super League side London out of the Challenge Cup.
A brace of late tries, from young back Reece Chapman-Smith and veteran full back Quentin Laulu-Togagae, sealed a shock 24-16 success and booked the club’s place in the sixth round.
With back rower Ed Barber leading the way with a stand-out individual effort, Fax - with eight first team regulars watching from the stands - led 12-6 at the break before finishing the job after the break.
“It was a first class effort from a group of players who looked like they wanted to play for each other,” said Marshall, who conceded he had ‘wound his neck in’ in recent weeks to change his side’s tactics.
“As a coach, I like to change things, but I wound my neck in a couple of weeks ago and the players have bought into a very simple game plan and we’re sticking with that.
“The attitude was there from minute one tonight.
“As soon as the game kicked off, you could sense we were ‘on’.
“We made a couple of errors, but we had the resilience and toughness to defend them tonight, which we’ve not had this year.
“We certainly didn’t have our strongest team out, but you wouldn’t have known that.
“Some of those young blokes have really put their hands up tonight.
“We champion youth and development and we’ve spent a couple of years getting them in the system and bringing them to this point.
“London are a quality team who’ve turned over some good Super League sides this year.
“There was no pressure on us, and I think we thrived off that tonight.
“We just had to play with some confidence and we did.
“The attendance wasn’t massive, but they certainly got behind us.
“Defensively, we made some smart decisions.
“We held our line better than we have been doing and made them try to go round us rather than through us.
“Have we turned a corner? I don’t know.
“We’ve got two really hard games over the next week or so and we’ve some bruised bodies in there.
“We’re in the next round though, which is great for us.”
Barber was a clear winner of the man of the match, although there were plenty of outstanding performances elsewhere, with winger Shaun Robinson another player in top form.
“Ed is a great professional, who does all the basics of the game really well,” said Marshall.
“He’s overcome some adversity in the last few weeks and he was terrific today.
“He did his job and more today, outstanding.
“I’m really pleased for him.
“Steve Tyrer was captain by virtue of his performances, he’s playing really well at the moment.
“The half backs were good; James Woodburn-Hall settled us down and took a leadership role and Ben White was really clinical in what he did.
“ Robinson’s going to defend in the middle next week, because he can really whack people.”