Hull FC 18 Huddersfield Giants 16: Sneyd sneaks it again for Hull

WHEN IT came to the crucial moments, Hull FC’s Marc Sneyd outshone Huddersfield Giants’ Aidan Sezer and proved just why he remains one of Super League’s most reliable No7s.

Hull FC's Josh Griffin goes past Lee Gaskell (BRUCE ROLLINSON)

His 75th minute penalty was the only difference when settling a tough, uncompromising Yorkshire derby last night.

It was tight, bruising and high quality for the large part as two sides, each desperate for the win that would keep their faint top-four hopes alive, battled it out at Halliwell Jones Stadium.

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Admittedly, Sneyd’s penalty was simple for a goalkicker of his quality but, tellingly, it came just two minutes after Sezer, the Australian ‘marquee’ signing who has been so influential for Huddersfield, miscued a relatively easy drop-goal attempt at the other end.

Perhaps Tom Holmes’ delivery out of dummy-half was slightly high for his captain, and there was some kick pressure coming his way, but Sezer will know he should have slotted the one-pointer and edged the contest in his side’s favour.

Instead, Huddersfield were left facing a second narrow defeat in quick succession after Thursday’s 24-16 loss against Salford Red Devils.

It was a common theme for previous head coach Simon Woolford before his exit last month and, though his interim replacement Luke Robinson started off with three successive wins, he, too, is now experiencing that nagging feeling of deja vu.

Hull, on the other hand, have seen their interim head coach Andy Last record a fourth win from eight league outings and he was rightly pleased with the way his side managed to stay calm and composed where before they have erred and panicked.

Huddersfield Giants' Chris McQueen (BRUCE ROLLINSON)

Sneyd’s general kicking game and game management was excellent while Josh Griffin - who Last revealed has offered to switch from centre to second-row to aid the team cause - was not far behind him in claims for man-of-the-match while the industrious Joe Cator was as busy as ever in the middle.

Returning Ratu Naulago opened the scoring although the Fijian winger was then lucky not to be punished for a late shoulder charge on Lee Gaskell.

When Gaskell recovered and forced a drop-out, Leroy Cudjoe’s trademark flick pass saw Jermaine McGillvary reply, but Sneyd attacked the line on the last tackle and Griffin’s excellent sleight of hand saw Mahe Fonua dummy over just before the interval.

Sezer’s perfect chip saw Matty English score in the 46th minute, the scrum-half’s conversion levelling matters at 10-10.

Hull FC's Ratu Naulago is held firm (BRUCE ROLLINSON)

However, Bureta Faraimo, the Hull winger who had not scored since crossing against Huddersfield 14 months ago, slid over after a fine Jamie Shaul break and another lovely Griffin assist.

Sneyd improved but then Sezer was caught high by Jack Brown and, in the next set, he sped through a gaping hole to score his sixth try since joining from Canberra Raiders.

The conversion was a formality but he was off-cue with that drop goal attempt and Huddersfield - who saw on-loan Halifax hooker Brandon Moore make an excellent Super League debut - missed out on points again.

Last said: “It was Marc Sneyd’s 150th game for Hull FC and he showcased what he is all about.

“He’s a very good organiser and, in those late stages when you need a calming influence,he knows how to get the team around the park and come up with the right plays at the right time.”

Robinson, who, like many, thought the decisive penalty decision was harsh, said: “Hull muscled up in the middle and stopped some of our flow in attack which obviously affects your half-backs.

“But it was our inconsistencies. We’re good in patches but don’t do it for long enough periods of times.”

Hull FC: Shaul; Naulago, Tuimavave, Fonua, Faraimo; Connor, Sneyd; Bowden, Johnstone, Sao, Griffin, Savelio, Cator. Substitutes: Satae, McNamara, Fash, Brown.

Huddersfield Giants: Golding; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Jake Wardle, Wood; Gaskell, Sezer; McQueen, Moore, Matagi, Edwards, Joe Wardle, Lawrence. Substitutes: English, Holmes, Turner, Hewitt.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh)