Doncaster Knights gave their survival bid a major shot in the arm with only their third league win of the season, 23-17, against play-off chasing Leeds, writes Liam Hoden.
In that first half the Knights looked a different side from one that has seemed destined for the drop for some time.
Confidence oozed from the side, play was simple and effective and their intensity was exceptional.
Errors cropped up in the second half as they spent long periods on the back foot but they held on in the face of strong pressure.
The clash could not have started better for the Knights when Michael Keating went over just three minutes in.
A fine phase of attacking rugby was capped with a burst from Adam Kettle who exchanged passes with Tom Davies before sending Keating clear to score under the posts with Jamie Lennard converting.
Leeds were struggling to get out of their half as the Knights forced several turnovers and Lennard extended the Knights’ lead with a pair of penalties.
The Knights suffered a blow on 25 minutes when Davies was sinbinned and Rory Clegg got Leeds off the mark with a penalty from 40 yards.
But the response was excellent and they quickly became encamped in the Leeds half once again with Lennard slotting over another penalty.
Another turnover in possession on half way saw a superb break sparked a brilliant pass from Hafu and the pressure told on Leeds with Phil Nilsen sinbinned.
The Knights were in dreamland three minutes before the break when Lennard kicked forward from 30 metres and chased down to score himself in the corner.
And he curled a brilliant conversion from close to touch to put his side 20 points ahead going into half time.
Leeds controlled possession and territory for vast swathes of the second half but their first try came through a break.
The Championship’s top try scorer David Doherty charged clear on the wing and handed off a weak challenge from Dante Mama to score with Clegg converting off the post.
Leeds continually plugged away for much of the second half with the Knights managing just a single foray into the opposition 22.
The pressure finally told on Doncaster four minutes from time when they conceded a penalty try, converted by Clegg.
Injury time was nail-biting, stretching into 12 minutes.
But the Knights held on for a brilliant win.
* Knights: Braid, Keating, Simpson (Mama, 21), Luke, Lewis, Lennard, Bedford, Davies (McGovern, 69), Buckley (Bergmanus, 74), Cronin, Challinor, Parsons (Smith, 77), Kettle, Hafu, Planchant. Not used: Pailor, Hallam, Sharp.
* Leeds: McColl, Georgiou (Lucock, 65), Goss, Burden, Doherty, Clegg, Hampson (Frost, 74), Harris (Imiolek, 61), Nilsen (Graham, 69), Tussac (Currie, 56), Green (Smith, 56), Myerscough, Baldwin, Rowan, Burrows. Not used: Smith, Walker.