Thornhill Trojans slipped to a 34-26 defeat at Crosfields in an ill-tempered top of the table contest last Saturday.
Thornhill appeared set for an easy win in a game between two of the leading contenders in National Conference Division Two, leading 22-6, but a second half collapse, combined with two spells in the sin bin for Jake Wilson, turned the game.
There was a mounting Trojans injury list which earned Sam Ratcliffe a place in the starting line-up along with A team regular James McHendry.
Trojans man-of-the-match was hooker Luke Haigh for an excellent display, particularly in the first half.
Credit must also go to Liam Morley who was outstanding until he picked up a rib injury late in the game.
Crosfields broke but a brilliant tackle from Sam Ratcliffe snubbed out the early attack.
The Trojans began to take control and ran a penalty close to the line, with Anthony Harris going over for a try that George Woodcock converted.
Thornhill continued to impress and good work ended with Wayne Wilson ploughing under a pile of bodies to score and Woodcock converted.
Good handling by Thornhill saw Haigh, Morley and Wilson all combine to send Woodcock over for an unconverted try to put Thornhill 16-0 up.
Crosfields replied on the stroke of half-time when a chip forward wasn’t dealt with by the Thornhill defence, much to the annoyance of coaches James Ratcliffe and Wayne Loney, and Billy Sheen was allowed to stroll over unopposed, Jack Reid converting.
Thornhill scored early in the second half when Will Poaching and Jake Wilson combined to send Morley racing over and Woodcock converted to increase the lead.
Suddenly the tide began to turn and a kick was pounced on by Tom Millington to score and Reid converted.
The sin binning of Wilson for dissent saw Thornhill collapse and Crosfields kept the ball alive before a pass unpicked the Trojans’ defence to put Chris Burgess over, with Reid again converting.
Strong running ended with Dave Boden scoring and Reid converted to put Crosfields in front for the first time.
A high kick to the corner was then picked out by Nathan Taylor to score an unconverted try.
Wilson then returned to the field and was almost instantly sent back to the sin bin when the referee judged he had ripped the ball in a tackle.
This sin-binning seemed harsh and Thornhill were also given a team warning.
Crosfields flipped the ball out to winger Kieran Thomas, who was allowed to touch down nearer the posts for Reid to convert.
By now the game was over for 12 man Thornhill and tempers boiled over when Scott Dyson was on the receiving end of a bad tackle.
From the penalty Woodcock squeezed over in the corner but when the full time whistle went he was still on the floor injured and it was a disappointed Trojans who left the field.
Thornhill focus on their BARLA National Cup defence on Saturday when they host Upton in the quarter-finals.