Sheffield Eagles put in a gritty performance to keep their challenge to the leaders in the Championship on track with a 24-14 win at Workington Town.
There were nervy moments but strong defence and Matt Garside scoring two tries to bring his tally to eight this season saw them leave Derwent Park with vital points.
Worrying for coach Mark Aston were potentially serious knee injuries to back row forward Michael Knowles and centre Menzie Yere.
“We were under the pump and defended well, it was tough and I’m relieved to get the result,” he said.
Eagles got off to a great start with scrum-half Dominic Brambani side-stepping the cover for the first try before adding the goal
Town had two scores ruled out but kept up the pressure and drew level with Carl Forber sending back row forward Connor Farrell, one of the three dual registration players from Wigan in the home line-up, in by the posts. Kayle Connor added the two. Eagles made limited possession count with Garside running on to Patch Walker’s pass to dive over. Brambani added the goal.
Skipper Mitch Stringer and Peter Green led a charge in the final minutes of the half but Town held out winger Misi Taulapapa and Eagles led 12-6 at the break.
The deadlock wasn’t broken until a rush of tries going into the final 20 minutes with former Sheffield back Jason Mossop going in for Town.
Eagles hit back with Gareth Owen sending in Duane Straugheir and Brambani adding the goal only for Town to narrow the margin to four points with a second for Mossop but crucially couldn’t add either conversion.
Garside’s second try in the final minute wrapped up a strong performance with Brambani kicking his fourth goal.
Whitehaven: Murphy; Mossop, Gelling, Connor, Carter; Tierney, Forber; Coward, Mattinson, Shackley, Phillips, Farrell, McAvoy. Subs: Olstrum, Rooney, Stack, Duerden.
Tries: Farrell 19, Mossop 59, 73; goals: Connor 1/3.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Tagaloa, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Lillycrop, Henderson, Stringer, Green, Garside, Knowles. Subs: Owen, Burke, Straugheir, Aspinall.
Tries: Brambani 2, Garside 28, 39, Straugheir 6; goals: Brambani 4/4.
Referee: Peter Brooke.