Sheffield Eagles tasted victory at Blackpool for the first time after a 30-24 success over Swinton Lions at the Summer Bash.
The Eagles kept in touch with the top four places after a much improved second stanza, with Mark Aston’s side bouncing back from last weekend’s defeat in Toulouse, despite a sloppy final eight minutes as Swinton got uncomfortably close.
It was far from vintage before the break as both sides struggled in possession, but the Eagles upped their game after the interval and were deserved winners with half-back Simon Brown instrumental as Aston’s side broke their Bloomfield Road duck.
In a forgettable opening quarter, the Lions drew first blood through Chris Atkin’s converted try, but the Eagles levelled matters when Matty Fozard scampered over from dummy half, and Brown added the extras.
Swinton edged in front before the break when Jordan Cox’s loose offload eventually resulted in a penalty and Atkin took the two points on offer.
The Eagles hit the front with the help of the video referee when Brown’s pass put Will Hope in under the sticks, and as he attempted to ground a sliding boot by Josh Barlow looked to have prevented a certain score. After official Jack Smith handed the decision upstairs, a try was awarded, with Brown converting.
The momentum was now with the Eagles, and after several mistakes from the Lions, Aston’s side extended their advantage. After the ball went loose off Jack Murphy, Scott Wheeldon found Menzie Yere who picked up nicely before diving over in the corner. Brown expertly converted.
On the hour the Eagles took firm control when a superb offload from debutant Jack Owens found Yere who then turned provider for PNG compatriot Garry Lo for a simple run to the line. Brown missed the extras.
Aston’s side were now showing the fluency that eluded them in the first-half and after a swift move, Brown’s grubber kick was touched down by Fozard, with Brown then converting.
Matty James and Ben Blackmore were both denied tries by the video referee as the Eagles looked to further extend their advantage, with James’ score chalked off in controversial circumstances after an alleged double-movement.
Brown took the opportunity to further extend the lead with a penalty, before Shaun Robinson’s converted try gave the Lions late hope.
Aston will be disappointed with the finish as Connor Farrell bounced through tackles to score, and a converted try by Ben Austin in the last minute gave the Eagles an unnecessary scare.
Eagles: Owens; Lo, Yere, Flynn, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico; James, Scott; Hope. Interchanged: Straugheir, Trout, Cox, Johnson.
Scorers: Tries: Atkin (24), Robinson (74), Farrell (78), Austin (80) Goals: Atkin 4/5
Swinton: Murphy; Robinson, Hankinson, Lloyd, Butt; Gore, Atkin; Bracek, Waterworth, Austin; Farrell, Jones; Lever. Interchange: Nicholson, Bate, Barlow, Barnes.
Scorers: Tries: Fozard (31, 62), Hope (48), Yere (54), Lo (59). Goals: Brown 5/6
Referee: Jack Smith