Halifax coach Richard Marshall conceded his side “gave” Bradford the chance to win the Good Friday derby at the Shay.
The Bulls overcame a 14-point deficit to win 33-26, leaving Fax frustrated ahead of a tortuous trip to Toulouse for the second half of their Bank Holiday double header.
Marshall’s side were leading 26-12 and in control going into the final quarter when Bulls full back Ethan Ryan came up with a crucial try-saving tackle on Fax half back Ben White.
Then a wayward ‘no look’ pass from White’s partner James Woodburn-Hall was picked off by the outstanding Elliot Minchella, who raced away for a try that changed the momentum of a contest played at breakneck speed.
“We gave them the game; we made some crucial errors at crucial times,” said Marshall.
“We were probably pulling away there, but we needed to execute that play a little bit better because we gifted them a score.
“If James had his time again, he’d probably have rolled the ball over the sideline rather than going back inside with that pass.
“But it’s never about the individual, it’s about the team and they’re gutted as a group.
“The penalty count was 12-7 and we had some tough calls in there, although I thought we contributed to our own downfall with those mistakes.
“We’re busted with injuries and we had some young players out there today and, on the whole, I was really happy with them.
“But we went away from what we’d been doing well when we were 14 points up and that’s the disappointing thing.
“We had a young, new partnership in the halves and I was pleased with a lot of what they did today.
“Ben’s kicking game was really good, turning them round and forcing three or four repeat sets, which was what we asked for.
“Ed Barber was brilliant again, James Saltonstall ran his blood to water again and those Halifax-born lads in that dressing room are really down being beaten like that.
“I thought we looked comfortable for long periods and it’s one that got away.
“They were knocking those penalties over, but we got ourselves back in front and scored some nice points.
“Even with five minutes to go, we had an opportunity in the corner and if we’d been a bit crisper through the hands we might have got over.
“I counted three or four opportunities when we probably should have scored.
“I feel for the supporters, it’s not nice to lose those games like that.”
Marshall now faces what, on paper, looks like the thankless task of trying to engineer a win in France on Monday (2.30).
Fax’s part-timers will rendezvous at the airport at 3am on Sunday morning, with a lengthy coach transfer waiting for them at the other end.
Marshall also confirmed he had been told his team would not have access to any training facilities before the game.
“It’s backs against the wall and it’s going to be tough,” he said.
“We’ll come out firing, because we have to.
“Everyone will be writing us off for this one, they very rarely lose at home in any case.
“The travel isn’t ideal and at the moment I don’t think there’s anywhere to train on the Sunday either, so we’ll be going straight in.
“Chester Butler’s not going to be fit, Ben Kaye, Scott Murrell and Simon Grix all won’t make it, so we’re going to be patched up.”