Hull FC 18 Castleford Tigers 26: Shenton in at the double for Castleford

Castleford's Jake Trueman breaks clear of the Hull FC defence. (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)Castleford's Jake Trueman breaks clear of the Hull FC defence. (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)
Castleford's Jake Trueman breaks clear of the Hull FC defence. (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)
Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton scored two tries last night as his defiant side held on - and ensured Hull FC’s miserable run continued.

The experienced former England centre crossed twice in the first half of a thrilling game but his team had to fight hard to hold off the hosts’ comeback.

Hull were great value, with Jake Connor and Joe Westerman impressing on their return, but, just as they missed out in the dying seconds at Hull KR last week, they fell just short again here, too.

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This is only the second game of the new season but it is 13 straight losses for Lee Radford’s side dating back to last summer.

Castleford captain Michael Shenton scores his first try against Hull (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)Castleford captain Michael Shenton scores his first try against Hull (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)
Castleford captain Michael Shenton scores his first try against Hull (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)

The game took a major turn within 60 seconds around the 52nd minute mark.

Hull were trailing just 18-12 when Connor, the England star back from a one-game suspension, thought he had crossed with an outrageous dummy.

However, video referee Ben Thaler rightly ruled former Hull prop Liam Watts had been blocked by his best mate Westerman to allow Connor in and ruled it out.

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That was fine - some FC fans will argue otherwise - but they were infuriated when Castleford scored at the other end moments later and referee Chris Kendall did not seek help from Thaler.

Hull FC's Jamie Shaul looks to break clear against Castleford (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)Hull FC's Jamie Shaul looks to break clear against Castleford (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)
Hull FC's Jamie Shaul looks to break clear against Castleford (Richard Sellers/PA Wire)

Paul McShane slotted in a short kick close to the Hull line that Junior Moors pounced on but the Samoan prop looked to fumble in doing so.

Kendall gave the try and McShane improved but shrugged off the disappointment and pressed hard to get back into the contest.

Full-back Jamie Shaul, who was a constant threat with his running, broke through off Connor’s fine delayed pass to find Jordan Lane, Marc Sneyd improving to make it 24-18 approaching the hour mark.

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Castleford’s Jordan Rankin slotted a penalty following an illegal tackle on McShane in the 61st minute - an incident put on report - but then came the Hull charge.

Mark Minichiello, in his 100th Super League game, surged close only to hit a post before some brilliant defence somehow denied the devilish Connor as he attacked and sliced over the line.

Hakim Miloudi also crossed the line but spilled as he stretched over and, for all their effort and endeavour, it summed up Hull’s night.

Castleford were 10-0 up inside just 11 minutes and yet another defeat already looked on the cards for their opponents.

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Miloudi was called up on the wing in place of Matty Dawson-Jones, who Radford revealed is out for the season with an ACL injury, but the Frenchman badly struggled defensively.

He was shrugged off far too easily by Jake Trueman to allow Super League’s Young Player of the Year to race away and set up Shenton for the opening score.

Miloudi was almost caught out in the next set, too, but just got back to nudge Greg Eden into touch.

Still, the visitors soon extended their lead when hooker McShane - as crafty as ever last night - dinked in a perfectly-weighted grubber for Jesse Sene-Lefao to latch onto.

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It was unfortunate that score came in the 11th minute; Hull’s fans were just coming to the end of a rousing rendition of Old Faithful in honour of their former No11 Adam Maher.

The Australian second-row, who played 100 games for the Airlie Birds between 2000 and 2003, is battling Motor Neurone Disease and was introduced to the crowd last night having flown into the UK to attend a special fundraising dinner on Sunday.

As a player, Maher was renowned for his toughness and resilience, just the same qualities the 46-year-old is now showing in his fight against the incurable debilitating condition.

Fittingly, Hull did not capitulate and dug deep to fight back from their early deficit with some quality football.

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Westerman was central to it all. The loose forward had not played since last July following a knee injury but it hardly showed.

His handling in midfield offered real variety and danger - just what they missed against Hull KR last week - and, allied with the returning Connor at stand-off, they caused Castleford plenty of issues.

The visitors received a let-off when James Clare negated Connor’s crossfield kick but, as heading for touch, threw a desperate pass infield that only landed in Minichiello’s grasp.

The veteran second-row did brilliantly to slalom his way infield from 20m out and barge over only to be denied by the video official who noticed Clare’s shoulder had hit the touchline before the winger’s errant offload.

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Still, it mattered not as FC did get their rewards in the set from the resultant scrum.

Westerman, unsurprisingly, was the beneficiary as the 29-year-old linked around Connor and sliced through against his former club.

Both sides struggled at times with their ball control - despite dry handling conditions - but it did not deter from making it an entertaining game, Hull fully playing their part.

Shaul, in particular, was a constant threat to the Castleford defence with the full-back’s pace catching Rankin out on more than one occasion.

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After one of his breaks, Hull took the lead with Connor rising high to sneak in between rooted Castleford defenders to claim Sneyd’s perfect crossfield kick in the 27th minute.

Sneyd converted both scores and Shaul thought he was in, too, after another stunning run only to be denied by Peter Mata-utia’s crucial ankle-tap tackle.

At the other end, Josh Griffin did superbly to deny Greg Minikin after more midfield brilliance from McShane while Bureta Faraimo got a fingertip, but no more, to Sneyd’s latest threatening kick.

Hull looked set to go in ahead until Miloudi had another brain explosion with just 42 seconds remaining.

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Adam Milner had made a break following Rankin’s weaving run but Shaul denied him and the hosts re-organised well.

However, Miloudi then rushed in from his wing at Rankin, who was able to find Shenton who exposed the space to cross for his second.

Powell’s side extend their lead early in the second half when Rankin - the recently recruited Australian half who grew into the game at one of his former clubs - delivered a grubber that saw Shaul concede a drop-out.

Mata’utia then made the cut-out pass for winger James Clare to score but McShane missed for the third time from four conversion attempts to leave his side still just 18-12 ahead.

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Hull: Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Miloudi, Connor, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Matongo, Minichiello, Manu, Westerman. Subs Thompson, Lane, Paea, Litten.

Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, She n ton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Foster, Massey. Subs Milner, Moors, Roberts, Clark.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield)