Sheffield Eagles ended a run of six consecutive league defeats after a 35-10 victory over Featherstone Rovers.
The Eagles eased their relegation fears after recording their first victory since April 29 following a stirring performance at Bawtry Road.
With new signing Nathan Chappell in the side, plus the availability next week of Catalans loan duo Stan Robin and Thibaut Margalet, the Eagles finally have some momentum going into a crunch clash with fellow strugglers Oldham on Friday.
The Eagles made light of the form book to make a blistering start which stunned their top four chasing opponents.
Their early pressure was rewarded on 11 minutes thanks to a brilliant individual score from Cory Aston. The half-back jinked back on the inside, then threw a sublime dummy before diving over. Aston converted his own score.
The Eagles increased their lead when a flat pass from Keal Carlile was collected by Scott Wheeldon who breezed through for the second try. Aston converted.
After a delay for an injury to Rovers’ Michael Channing, the Eagles resumed their stranglehold on proceedings. Debutant Chappell’s offload in the tackle ricocheted off Jamie Foster into the hands of Ben Blackmore, who scored in the corner. Aston missed the extras.
An errant elbow saw Mark Mexico in the bin, but despite being a man light the Eagles were in again when a loose pass allowed Garry Lo to sprint 70 metres to score. Somehow Aston failed to extend the lead after missing the kick in front of the sticks.
The visitors gave themselves hope through Jamie Cording’s try which was converted by Foster. Rovers then put the Eagles under a sustained period of pressure, not helped by Duane Straugheir being the second player to see yellow.
The home side’s resistance was broken on 52 minutes when James Duckworth squeezed over, but Foster missed the conversion.
With the visitors sensing an opportunity, the Eagles got the crucial next score through Menzie Yere following Aston’s grubber kick, but the latter failed with the kick.
The game was sealed when an error gave the Eagles possession with Aston handing over to Blackmore for the sixth try, which wasn’t converted. It didn’t matter as a Michael Knowles drop goal, and a late Elliot Minchella try added the gloss to the performance, with Aston this time kicking the extras.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Lo, Yere, Chappell, Blackmore; Aston, Fozard; Thorpe, Carlile, Wheeldon; James, Straugheir; Knowles. Interchange: Minchella, Worrincy, Tyson, Mexico.
Featherstone: Channing, Duckworth, Cording, Taulapappa, Foster; Lilley, Thackeray; Griffin, Ellis, Baldwinson; Spears, Davies; Knowles-Tagg. Interchange: Briggs, Roche, Ormondroyd, Bostock.
Referee: Andy Sweet