MATCH REPORT | EAGLES THUMP 12 MAN FAX


Halifax Panthers fell to a disappointing defeat on Friday Night as they were kept scoreless for a second meeting in a row by the high flying Sheffield Eagles.

Despite a resilient defensive display at Olympic Legacy Park, the Panthers were put to the sword by a clinical second half display from the hosts, who deservedly took the points of the night.

A fiery affair between the sides that saw multiple cards shown on the night, as frustrations boiled over in South Yorkshire.

The clash remained scoreless for the opening quarter despite the Eagles clear dominance in possession, territory and the penalty count. Fax just kept turning up time and time for their mates, showing a real steel in the steel city.

The line would eventually be breached in the 24th minute, when after defending repeated attacks right on the try line, the Panthers were undone by a Crossfield kick on the last. Kris Welham outjumping the impressive Charlie Graham to claim the ball before freeing Ben Jones-Bishop with an offload to cross unopposed in the corner.

Former Fax man Cory Aston nailing the touchline conversion but Fax stuck to their task well, and were rewarded with a chance to hit back immediately. When another former Halifax half back Anthony Thackeray put down the kick off, the Panthers fed an attacking scrum 10m from the Sheffield line.

But after being starved of possession, the ball was forced to the right and McComb dropped the ball on tackle one, gifting the impetus back to the hosts.

Fax continued to defend their line admirably, but both sides were soon down to 12 men as Joel Farrell and Ben Kavanagh saw yellow for their roles in a melee following an off the ball incident.

The Panthers almost made the resulting penalty count as Adam O’Brien went from dummy half trying to stretch his way over the line but lost control as he tried to get the ball down. From potentially going in level at the break, the Eagles would land another blow just before half time to swing momentum in their favour.

Aston’s grubber behind the line was claimed and thrown backwards by Matty Dawson-Jones, before the ball appeared to travel forwards into the arms of Bayley Liu to touch in down. Much to the chagrin of the Panthers players who clearly felt there was a knock on, the score was awarded and Fax faced a 10-0 half time deficit.

The second 40 would belong to the hosts as a sterling kicking game laid a platform for the Eagles to strangle the life out of the Panthers back three. With Fax struggling for metres, Sheffield continued to make it comfortably over the advantage line, playing the percentages well.

When Dawson-Jones finished in the corner on 49 minutes, Fax toiled to fight their way back into the game but more panic was on show as forced passes and il discipline would soon end the tie as a contest.

When Zack McComb was sent off on 55 minutes for his part in a brawl, the Panthers were staring down the barrel with 12 men for the final 25 minutes of the game. Ben Jones-Bishop crossed for the his of the night from the resulting penalty, the game was all but over as a contest.

Eddie Battye broke through a tiring defence from a Gwaze short ball on the hour mark, the visitors kept toiling but it wasn’t to be as a late Aston penalty goal on the hooter secured a 28-0 win for the Eagles, condemning Fax to their 9th league defeat in 2024.

 

Sheffield Eagles
Marsh, Jones-Bishop, Welham, Liu, Dawson-Jones, Aston, Thackeray, Battye, Halafihi, Dickinson, Bower, Farrell, Gwaze
Subs: Hodgson, Clark, Wood, Sene-Lefao )18th Man: Murphy)

Tries: Jones-Bishop (23, 57), Liu (38), Dawson-Jones (49), Battye (61)
Goals: Aston 3/5
Penalty: Aston 1/1
Sin Bin: Farrell (34)

Halifax Panthers
Widdop, McComb, Barber, Woodburn-Hall, Graham, Jouffret, Keyes, Tangata, O’Brien, Fairbank, Kavanagh, Gee, Lannon
Subs: Johnson, Boyer, Larroyer, C Davies (18th Man: Hursey)

Tries: N/A
Goals: N/A
Sin Bin: Kavanagh (34)
Sent Off: McComb (55)

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