Halifax Panthers fell to yet another defeat in the Betfred Championship but showed more desire and commitment than in the last few weeks against their old rivals Featherstone Rovers, who despite the sending off of Gareth Gale managed to defeat the Panthers 36-16, a score line which possibly flattered the home side.

Liam Finn has maintained he is proud of his charges for their effort but the few fans that made the journey along the M62 would have been in agreement as Fax once again created enough chances to win but a different bounce of the ball and a different referee interpretation of some rules might have seen Fax come up with a victory.

The First Half especially was a tight affair with both sides committing silly mistakes and both sides creating chances, with the Panthers finding joy on their right flank, but for better execution from James Saltonstall, Fax might have scored much more than the 2 they managed going down the slope.

Better execution in defence from Saltonstall would have possibly prevented the first try of the game, his rush out of the line inside gave Fev halfback Paul Turner the chance to loft the pass over the top for Connor Wynne to score the first of his 4 tries on the day.

Luke Hooley, on an emergency loan from Castleford Tigers, converted before Fax struck back, a loose pass in midfield was picked up by Greg Eden who raced over in the corner unopposed, Jouffret converted to get Fax right back in the game.

But back came Fev again through what is unfortunately becoming a habit for Fax, conceding a close range try from a short pass from dummy half, Wellington Albert the grateful recipient of the 4 points although a hint of obstruction was missed in the build up. Hooley converted before Gareth Widdop gave Fax hope on the half time hooter.

In a try crafted in Halifax, his long ball wide sent Saltonstall away, before kicking back inside to finally find the mark as Widdop picked up to score his 2nd try of the season and give Fax a great way back into the game at 12-10.

Fax thought they were in front early in the Second Half, the brilliant Joe Keyes dummied his way through the Fev defence but his ball back on the inside was spilled by Jacob Fairbank with the line begging. The Panthers were creating the chances but just couldn’t finish enough of them and Fev made them pay soon afterwards as Josh Hardcastle ploughed through some soft defence for a try which Hooley converted to give Fev some breathing space at 18-10.

The game twisted again as on yet another chance created by the visitors, Tom Inman was caught head high with a flying shoulder from Gale. After the players were separated, the referee showed the red card to Gale and a potentially massive momentum swing in the game.

However, this had the opposite effect as the Post Office Road crowd, which had been kept quiet by the Panthers until that moment, roared into life and inspired their players to win the game, Wynne scoring soon after to make it 24-10 and possibly game over.

But back came Fax, Keyes with a captain’s knock as he dummied over from close range. Jouffret converted for 24-16 and a potential comeback for the 13 men. This looked especially true when Hooley spilt another Halifax kick forward into the arms of Zack McComb who then had the ball forced from him by the Fev defence.

Surely no advantage but the referee ruled advantage had indeed been played and ruled Featherstone ball, who then scored off the very next set, Wynne completing his hattrick to put the game to bed before claiming his 4th after Turner picked Jouffret’s pocket to race downfield before handing it off to Wynne to score. Hooley added 2 goals to give the final 36-16 scoreline a flattering look towards the home side. A much better Fax display but still a way to go before they can claim their place back in the Winner’s Circle.

Featherstone Rovers
Hooley, Wynee, Hardcastle, Minikin, Gale, Addy, Turner, Kamano, Jones, Massey, Day, England, Bussey
Subs: Bowes, Albert, Fishwick, Gorman (18th Man: Roberts)

Tries: Wynne (13,64,72,76), Albert (34), Hardcastle (49)
Goals: Hooley 5/6
Penalty: Hooley 1/1
Sent Off: Gale (59)

Halifax Panthers
Jouffret, Eden, Tibbs, Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall, Widdop, Keyes, Douglas, Inman, Larroyer, C Davies, Gee, McComb
Subs: Tangata, Lannon, Fairbank, Barber (18th Man: Hursey)

Tries: Eden (25), Widdop (38), Keyes (65)
Goals: Jouffret 2/3

#BWO #MatchReport

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