Featherstone 9 Swinton 10: Rovers stung by Hornets after slipping up in the mud

Disappointed Featherstone coach Jon Sharp.
Disappointed Featherstone coach Jon Sharp.
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Rovers had only themselves to blame as they slipped to their first Championship defeat this season with a disappointing display against Rochdale.

Lewis Palfrey’s penalty three minutes from time gave newly-promoted Hornets a surprise 10-9 win as they condemned Rovers to their first home league defeat since Leigh Centurions beat them 30-24 last April.

Anthony Thackeray thought he'd won it for Featherstone with a late drop-goal, but Swinton nicked the win with an even later penalty conversion.

Anthony Thackeray thought he'd won it for Featherstone with a late drop-goal, but Swinton nicked the win with an even later penalty conversion.

With a 15-7 pennalty count in their favour, Featherstone were on top territorially for much of the game but were guilty of poor decision-making in atrocious conditions.

Their finishing let them down as a handful of chances went begging and they also spurned three kickable first-half penalties.

Rovers coach Jon Sharp said: “There were probably four or five chances we blew and that just summed it up for us. We just weren’t ruthless enough. There were too many blokes having off days all at once.”

Rovers trailed 8-2 at half-time. Palfrey put Hornets in front with a 11th minute penalty before Michael Knowles squared matters on 32 minutes.

Michael Knowles added to Featherstone's points tally with a conversion.

Michael Knowles added to Featherstone's points tally with a conversion.

And while down to 12 men, Hornets surprisingly regained the lead three minutes later when Palfrey sent in Danny Bridge. Palfrey converted then failed with a 47th minute kick before Rovers made it 8-8 when Thackeray created the opeing for centre Chris Ulugia to cross. On-loan Corey Aston added the extras.

Rovers went close several times before Anthony Thackeray edged them 9-8 ahead with a 68th-minute drop goal.

But Rochdale came out on top when Josh Crowley’s surging run led to Featherstone being caught offside and Palfrey kicked the 30-yard angled penalty in the closing stages.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Ulugia, Turner; Thackeray, Wildie; Mariano, Carlile, Moore, Knowles, Walton, Davies. Subs: Aston, Lockwood, Bostock, Griffin.

Rochdale Hornets: Greenwood; Holmes, Case, Eccleston, Massam; Palfrey, Yates; Taira, Moores, Bennion, Wild, Crowley, Middlehurst. Subs: Lobwein, Francis, Hadden, Bridge.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).

Attendance: 1,839.

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