GUTSY Oldham came within inches of snatching a last-gasp winner in another thrilling encounter at Halifax.
Adam Clay took a wide pass and went for the corner with Roughyeds trailing 16-14, but three defenders got across to bundle him into touch as the corner flag went flying.
It was as close as that — and Roughyeds still came away having scored three tries to Halifax’s two.
Fax coach Richard Marshall said: “I thought they were in. A good, long ball out wide gave them a clear chance. But credit our defence. That tackle won the game for us.
“Oldham are a spirited side. Their league position belies how good they are.”
Clay was at the centre of another defining and controversial moment earlier in the second half when a touchjudge ruled he had got a foot to the ball before it went into Oldham’s touch in goal.
It gave Fax a repeat set from an Oldham drop out and with Adam Neal already in the sin-bin, 12-man Roughyeds couldn’t stop James Saltonstall scoring in the corner past an outflanked defence.
The Oldham winger was flabbergasted by the decision — one of a few to cause frustration in Roughyeds’ ranks.
Having restricted the top-four side to two tries in 50 minutes, Roughyeds then took total command to score three unanswered tries by Gill, Joe Burke and Chisholm in the last 20 minutes.
Oldham were out of luck when Fax scored their first try after seven minutes, a kick by Scott Murrell bouncing off a post and into the path of Ben Johnston. Steve Tyrer added the easy goal.
Sammy Gee was stopped on the line and smashed into the upright, but there was no further score in an evenly-fought first half.
Early in the second half an unforced error by Jamel Chisholm; a yellow card for Adam Neal; a touchjudge’s mistake; Saltonstall’s try and Tyrer’s accurate goalkicking saw Roughyeds go 14-0 down.
Game over ? No chance. Not with Oldham in this mood. Kieran Gill scored in the left-hand corner after quick movement of the ball through several pairs of hands, but Scott Leatherbarrow’s kick off the touchline fell just short.
A few minutes later, Roughyeds fans were rocking when Joe Burke took Kenny Hughes’s flat pass to crash over from close range. Leatherbarrow’s goal made it 14-10.
A harsh-looking penalty gave Tyrer the opportunity to edge Fax into a 16-10 lead, but Roughyeds came again with another quick shift to the left, finished superbly by Chisholm, who flew in at the corner.
Leatherbarrow’s difficult pressure kick failed to equalise, then came that last-gasp drama when Clay came within a whisker of snatching the winner Roughyeds deserved.
Halifax: goals, Tyrer 4/4; tries, Johnston, Saltonstall.
Oldham: goal, Leatherbarrow 1/3; tries, Gill, Burke, Chisholm.
Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Morris, Kaye, Cahalane, Grady, Tangata, Fairbank. Subs: Barber, Evalds, Moore, Boyle.
Oldham: Turner; Clay, Egodo, Gill, Chisholm; Leatherbarrow, Owen; Burke, Hughes, Davies, Wood, Bent, Thompson. Subs: Ward, Gee, Langtree, Neal.
Referee: A Sweet; Att: 1,364.