Sheffield Eagles ended a run of three consecutive defeats after closely fought 42-34 victory over Swinton at Belle Vue.
The Eagles looked to be cruising at one stage with a handy 22 point advantage, before a spirited fight-back from the visitors almost saw them pull off an unlikely victory.
Mark Aston’s side closed out a topsy-turvy encounter with a late Garry Lo score to get their season moving back in the right direction, whilst also inflicting a third victory over the Lions in 2017.
Coach Aston has often lamented his side’s start to games but this time around the Eagles came flying out of the blocks. After a Swinton knock on, the Eagles pressed home their advantage with the returning Matty James crashing over, and St Helens half-back Danny Richardson, in for Simon Brown, converted.
The early pressure paid off with a second try on 15 minutes. Good work between Remy Marginet, Will Hope and Jake Spedding ended with Ben Blackmore crossing and Richardson converted.
Richardson was already having a telling impact on proceedings, and he was involved again laying on a try for Jack Owens which he also converted.
The lead was further extended when Marginet’s kick to the corner found Blackmore who bagged his second try, but Richardson missed the extras.
With the Eagles seemingly in full command, Swinton suddenly kicked into gear to haul themselves back into the contest.
Jack Murphy’s quick-fire hat-trick, two of which were converted, chopped the Eagles’ advantage to just six points as the game swung into the Lions’ direction.
After the interval the Eagles arrested the slide when a quality break from Spedding opened up the Lions, with Blackmore finishing the move for his hat-trick. Richardson converted.
It wasn’t long before Aston’s side were on the back foot, as momentum once again turned towards the visitors. Shaun Robinson’s converted score was followed up by a try from Mike Butt, but crucially Chris Atkin missed the second conversion.
The two sides swapped penalties as Atkin brought the game level, before Richardson edged the hosts back in front.
With the game on a knife-edge Richardson’s try looked to have sealed it, but an Atkin penalty reduced the deficit to six, and Swinton still weren’t done as Rhodri Lloyd’s try brought them within two points. Crucially Atkin missed the extras.
The nerves were settled in the dying seconds when Lo’s converted score edged it for the Eagles, as Aston’s side finally put a dogged Swinton to bed.
Eagles: Owens; Lo, Yere, Spedding, Blackmore; Richardson, Marginet; Wheeldon, Fozard, Richards; Hope, James; Minchella. Interchange: Flynn, Mexico, Trout, Scott.
Scorers: Tries: James (3), Blackmore (15, 27, 44), Owens (22), Richardson (72), Lo (80) Goals: Richardson 7/8
Swinton: Murphy; Robinson, Hankinson, Lloyd, Butt; Woods, Atkin; Bracek, Waterworth, Barlow; Paisley, Jones; Lever. Swinton Interchange: Barnes, Carberry, White, Austin.
Scorers: Tries: Murphy (29, 31, 34), Robinson (48), Butt (56), Lloyd (76) Goals: Atkin 5/8