Giants preserve chance of beating drop

Wakefield 19 Huddersfield 21
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The Independent Online

The struggle for Super League survival will go into the final Sunday of the season after Huddersfield shrank the gap between the bottom two to a single point with a nail-biting victory at Belle Vue.

Hefin O'Hare was the unlikely hero as the Giants snatched back the lead with 16 minutes to play and then hung on to their last shreds of hope. Now they must beat the London Broncos and hope that Wakefield lose at Salford.

After all the upheavals of the past year and a bit, Wakefield finally knew what they had to do last night. With a win or a draw enough to send Huddersfield and not themselves down to the Northern Ford Premiership.

They hardly made the most reassuring start, going behind inside two minutes when David Atkins' overhead pass saw Martin Gleeson go over. A handling mistake by the Giants' stand-in full-back, O'Hare, soon let Trinity back in. From their possession near the line Ryan Hudson barged over although Martin Pearson could not level the score.

There were plenty more errors but no more points in a nervous first quarter which ended with Brandon Costin having a try disallowed for Huddersfield because of an obstruction by Atkins in the build-up. Atkins was sin-binned along with Trinity's David March for fighting, half a pitch width from the play.

Huddersfield continued to look the better organised side and deservedly extended their lead after 32 minutes. They took the play down the right before Steve McNamara's long ball brought it back inside and Richard Marshall's reverse pass allowed the substitute Steve Molloy to force his way over the line, McNamara adding his second goal. Pearson trimmed their lead with an offside penalty before half-time.

Huddersfield were stretched repeatedly in the early stages of the second half. Something had to give eventually and it did when Brad Davis took Willie Poching's pass, twisted away from his markers and changed the direction of the play to throw a long pass that Justin Brooker hit at full pace. Pearson's conversion tied the scores, but he failed with a drop goal attempt and Brooker was denied a quick second try when he was ruled to have knocked on in dislodging the ball from O'Hare, but Huddersfield were living on their nerves.

A tackle by Neil Law on the weaving Ben Custo protected the Wakefield line before they took the lead for the first time, through Hudson's drop goal.

Huddersfield struck straight back, Custo, Chris Thorman and Gleeson combining for O'Hare go over the line. Costin added the goal and another when Frank Watene was harshly judged to have obstructed Custo, who also contributed a drop goal.

Troy Stone's superb tackle kept the line intact but he was later guilty of swinging a punch for a penalty from which March writhed over, Graham Law's kick cutting the margin to two points.

Huddersfield somehow managed to keep what remained of their nerve and they now take their fight to the last weekend.

Wakefield: N Law; Westwood, Ellis, Brooker, Sovatabua; Pearson, Davis; O'Neill, D March, Mason, Field, Price, Hudson. Substitutes used: Watene, Rauter, G Law, Poching.

Huddersfield: O'Hare; Frew, Gene, Gleeson, Langley; Costin, Kusto; Stone, Rowley, Marshall, Atkins, Lomax, McNamara. Substitutes used: Thorman, Moana, Molloy, Slicker.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).