Catalans Dragons 20 Hull FC 14: Airlie Birds left to rue the one that got away in Perpignan

Hull FC's Jordan Rankin scored in Perpignan but it wasn't enough to stave off defeat against Catalans Dragons .
Hull FC's Jordan Rankin scored in Perpignan but it wasn't enough to stave off defeat against Catalans Dragons .
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Hull FC coach Lee Radford felt his side paid the price for not being more clinical as they were beaten in the south of France.

The in-form Black and Whites - with eight wins from 10 - were eventually defeated 20-14 by the Catalans Dragons in Perpignan, but they were far from disgraced and, on another day, could have taken something home.

Radford knew, however, what had cost his men.

“It was probably a game that got away from us this,” he said.

“I felt that we created enough opportunities to come away with the spoils but never capitalised on it. It was our doing and that is really disappointing, it is a long way to come here and get narrowly defeated.

“In the first period we spoke about how clinical and physical we needed to be; I feel that we got the physical, but not the clinical side. Again, when we were chasing the game at the end, we created overlaps and opportunities but we just couldn’t take them.”

Jordan Rankin scored a fine try for the visitors and Marc Sneyd added a penalty but the Airlie Birds trailed 18-8 at the break.

Marc Minichiello gave Hull hope at the start of the second half with a well-taken try but Catalans hung on to leave Hull - backed by 1,000 fans in France - eighth in the standings.

Thomas Bosc made a winning return for Catalans Dragons as they maintained their charge for the top four, taking a share of fifth place in the process.

Bosc was key for the hosts as the France half-back, who has played only once in the past five weeks, returned to level the game for Catalans - with further tries from Tony Gigot and Greg Mounis – while Scott Dureau added the extras, as they came from behind twice to win.

The visitors went ahead through Rankin before Minichiello crossed over 13 minutes after the break and Sneyd was on target with three goals.

A hulking performance from Minichiello kept Hull in the hunt but in the end they ran out of time.

“He was superb for us tonight,” Radford said of the Australian. “Arguably him and Zeb Taia are the two best back-rowers in the competition and hopefully he can continue to produce what he did tonight.”

Catalans Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous enjoyed his side’s defensive efforts.

“When you win, you are always happy; tonight I am more happy because we only conceded two tries. Defensively we were pretty good tonight,” he said.

“There are some good young French guys who got a good experience tonight, I’m really pleased how they all fought for each other and got the win in a tough game.”

In the Championship, third-placed Sheffield Eagles tightened their grip on a crucial top-four spot with a hard-fought 26-16 victory over Whitehaven.

Whitehaven - 11th in the table - trailed 16-4 at the break at Castle Park but fought back to level with two Scott McAvoy tries before touchdowns from Scott Turner and Misi Taulapapa - his second of the match - settled Eagles nerves.

Quentin Laulu-Togagae and three-goal Kyle Briggs also crossed for the South Yorkshire side while Whitehaven’s other try came from Craig Calvert.