Gibson conjures Halifax's ascent

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Damian Gibson demonstrated the lost art of high-speed juggling at the McAlpine Stadium last night to win a game that ultimately made up with its excitement and uncertainty for its technical shortcomings.

It was two minutes from the end of normal time when Andrew Dunemann launched a kick towards the Huddersfield-Sheffield line. Gavin Clinch could not take it and Gibson plunged head long, the ball flitting on and off his fingertips before he seized it to touchdown. It was a bizarre finish to a game which featured so many routine handling mistakes.

Although the win takes Halifax back into Super League's top five, there was little assurance about this display. The first half in particular resembled a comedy of errors, with the home side making most of the early mistakes.

Ahead through a Gene Ngamu penalty, they handled the ball so erratically that they were bound to concede points. They did so when Paul Reilly dropped Dunemann's high kick and Paul Rowley sent Daryl Cardiss over.

Cardiss then led an attack from deep that ended with Martin Moana strolling over, Martin Pearson kicking both goals to put Halifax 10 points ahead.

At that stage they became just as mistake prone as their hosts, who drew level with the help of three Ngamu goals and a well-taken try from their French winger, Sylvan Houles.

Picked out by Chris Thorman's pass he still had plenty to do to beat Oliver Marns' tackle and squeeze in at the corner and the way in which he did so marked him out as a finisher of quality.

Halifax regained the lead two minutes before the break when Dunemann scooped up a loose ball to start the attack and Marns put Jamie Bloem away.

The Giants supplied the pressure at the start of the second half and drew level when Clinch's slick pass put Karl Lovell through a gap.

Halifax hit the front once more when Dunemann took a pass from Rowley and found himself with a clear passage to the line, but the Giants squared it once again when Ngamu's dummy presented him with a similar gap and his touchline kick became his sixth success from as many attempts.

The New Zealand international's individual heroics were in vain as Huddersfield ignored an opportunity to set up a drop goal, something they lived to regret when Gibson grabbed his match-winner.

Huddersfield/Sheffield Giants: Ngamu; Houles, Lovell, Gleeson, Reilly; Thorman, Clinch; Lomax, Russell, Laughton, Turner, Marshall, Hardy. Substitutes used: Dekkiche, Sovatabua, Lawless, Molloy.

Halifax Blue Sox: Cardiss; Marns, Florimo, Golden, Gibson; Dunemann, Pearson; Goldspink, Rowley, Savelio, Mercer, Bloem, Moana. Substitutes used: Foster, Tallec, Hobson.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).

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