ROUGHYEDS will be kicking themselves for missing a golden opportunity to take an 18-12 lead midway through the second half.
Having dominated most of the first half, without scoring, they went in at half-time 12-0 down.
But they were quickly out of the blocks in the second half to pull level with tries by Scott Turner, Michael Ward and two Scott Leatherbarrow goals — a conversion and a penalty.
At that stage Scott Naylor’s boys were on top. Gareth Owen was enjoying his best spell of the season from dummy half, the forwards were running hard down the slope, and Roughyeds looked good enough to go on and complete the job.
Halifax were rocking, make no mistake about that.
Owen went close to setting up a try for Ben Davies and from an ensuing penalty Turner and George Tyson linked up well to expose space down Fax’s right side.
George went clear and fed Leatherbarrow on his inside. Try surely. But no. The final pass was forward, a wonderful opportunity was missed — and Scott’s boys were never the same again.
A try then and they would surely have gone on to win. That’s how dominant they looked until Leatherbarrow’s unbridled joy turned to despair when he realised the pass which set him free to the line had been ruled forward.
It knocked the stuffing out of us while lifting Fax, who went on to totally control the rest of the game with 18 unanswered points, including three more tries.
The score didn’t reflect what Oldham put into the game. They totally dominated the first 20 minutes in terms of possession and position, but they couldn’t bust open a tough Fax defence, although they were unlucky when Adam Clay went close in the corner and when Turner was held up over the line, although he was convinced he had scored.
Perhaps showing why Fax are pushing for the top four and Roughyeds are anxious to get out of a six-match losing run, the visitors finally got some scraps of good possession late in the first half — and came up with two tries by Will Sharp and Brandon Douglas.
Roughyeds suffered a major blow as early as the 18th minute. Richard Lepori was in scintillating form from full-back, causing Fax problems on every kick return, but he went down with an injury to his left ankle.
He tried to run it off after treatment and strapping but after moving out to the left wing with Turner switching to full back he was forced to quit at half-time and now faces a race against time to be ready for Wednesday’s crucial Bower Fold clash with Dewsbury Rams.
Scott had to switch things round at half-time with Sam Wood going on the left wing and Luke Adamson pulled out of the pack to play left-centre, with Turner continuing to have an impressive game at full-back.
Tyson edged a titanic battle with his opposite number Steve Tyrer; Lepori was having a cracker before he was injured; Turner had a big game; Ward, Tyler Dickinson and Owen all made big impacts off the bench.
Owen was back to his best from dummy half in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but the forward-pass decision was to prove a game changer.
So now it’s all to play for against the Rams on Wednesday.
Oldham: tries, Turner, Ward; Goals, Leatherbarrow 2/3
Halifax: tries, Sharp (2), Douglas, Moore, Morris; Goals, Tyrer 5/6
Oldham: Lepori; Clay, Tyson, S Wood, Turner; Leatherbarrow, Hewitt; Neal, Hughes, Burke, Adamson, Langtree, Spencer. Subs: Ward, Dickinson, Owen, Davies.
Halifax: Sharp; McGrath, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Cahalane, Moore, Murray, Grady, Barber, Grix. Subs: Morris, Wilkinson, Douglas, Boyle.
Ref: J McMullen; Att: 809.