Halifax 30 Sheffield Eagles 26
SHEFFIELD Eagles hopes of going second in the Championship crashed as Halifax snatched two tries in the final five minutes.
The Eagles at one point held a 16-0 lead but suffered the agony of a third defeat by Fax in league and cup competitions this season.
It cast a cloud on fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae equalling a 20-year club record for 30 tries in a season.
Coach Mark Aston hit out at the referee saying: “The best team lost. The man in the middle of the field spoilt the game.
“Three tries we had disallowed and I want answers because it spoilt a top of the table clash.”
Eagles got off to a flyer with Simon Brown and Menzie Yere putting winger Vinny Finigan in for his fourth try in three games.
Scrum Quentin Laulu-Togagae’s pass found winger Scott Turner who had an easy run in from 15 metres.
Three minutes later second rower Michael Knowles forced his way over. Brown converted the second try. Fax came back to life with ex-Eagles winger Rob Worrincy racing 80 metres for the try. Paul Handforth added the goal.
Building on the momentum scrum-half Anthony Thackeray went in for a try and Steve Tyrer added the goal.
Eagles hit back with Yere losing his boot as he raced to the line but off-loading to give Knowles his second try.
Sheffield prop Mitch Stringer was put on report as he seemed to put his head into Sam Barlow’s face.
A penalty almost on half-time saw Brown increase the Eagles lead to 22-12.
Halifax, who beat the Eagles with a second half comeback in the Rail Cup semi-final hit back after the restart with a try from winger Paul White and goal from Tyrer.
As the rain came hammering down the Eagles eased the lead back out with fullback Laulu-Togagae went in at the corner for his 30th try of the season.
Tempers frayed with Eagles Duane Straugheir and Halifax’s Jim Gannon sin binned for fighting. With five minutes left prop Luke Ambler twisted over and with Tyrer’s goal the lead was down to two points.
Fax were on a roll and Handforth’s break spilt the Eagles line for Thackeray to go in for his second try with Tyrer adding the two to seal the win.
Halifax: Fieldhouse; Worrincy, Tyrer, Paterson, White; Handforth, Thackeray; Tonks, Penkywicz, Ambler, Manning, Robinson, Gannon. Subs: Bowman, Ashall, Barlow, Aizue.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Yere, Taulapapa, Turner; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Scott. Szostak. Subs: Davey, McDonald, Straugheir, Higgins.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow.