Halifax bounced back from last weekend’s Championship reverse at Batley with a hard-fought 12-6 home win over Oldham.
Richard Marshall’s side were never comfortable against an energetic Roughyeds side and were grateful to two tries from on-loan Salford forward Matt Sarsfield and some excellent goal kicking from centre Steve Tyrer as they kept themselves in the hunt for a top four finish.
The first half had been tight, tense and at times agonisingly slow as referee Warren Turley allowed both sides too much latitude at the ruck.
The home side had started the game under pressure, but broke what was beginning to look like an Oldham stranglehold in the ninth minute.
Loose forward Jacob Fairbank did the initial damage with a 30 metre surge down the middle, and although that attack was stopped, on the next play half- back Gareth Moore’s cross kick fell for back rower Sarsfield.
Centre Tyrer missed the conversion and the game continued to ebb and flow until the half hour when Sarsfield struck again; centre Ben Heaton threatening on the right flank and the forward piercing the defence from close range.
Tyrer kicked the conversion for a 10-0 lead the home side did well to hold to half-time after withstanding 18 tackles on their own line in the final minutes before the interval.
Oldham opened the second half with another bout of pressure and this time they made it count, winger Jamal Chisholm scoring from a high kick on the last of 18 tackles and Sam Gee converting from the touchline.
At 10-6, both sides began to play the percentages as the rain fell at the Shay, with Halifax finally extending their lead with a Tyrer penalty from in front.
At 12-6, and with Oldham very much a live threat, Tyrer opted to take on another shot at two points from half way, with the ball barely getting off the turf.
In the end, that mattered little though as the home side withstood another spell of late pressure to register a crucial win.
Halifax: Greenwood; Saltonstall, Heaton, Tyrer, Sharp; G. Moore, Murrell; Cahalane, Kaye, Tangata, Manning, Sarsfield, Fairbank. Substitutes: B. Moore, Ambler, R. Moore, Robinson
Oldham: Simpson; Clay, Gee, Johnson, Chisholm; Grimshaw, Owen; Dickinson, Leeming, Spencer, Middlehurst, Langtree, Thompson. Substitutes: Joy, Burke, Files, Ward.
Referee: W Turley.