Featherstone 24 – 20 Leigh

Leigh Centurions missed out on the opportunity to go second in the Betfred Championship after a four-point defeat at the LD Nutrition Stadium that ended a six-match winning run.

John Duffy’s side instead are now fifth, level on points with Toulouse and Featherstone but with an inferior points difference, two points behind second-placed York and two points ahead of sixth-placed Bradford.

Liam Forsyth continued his remarkable try-scoring run with his fourth brace in his last four games and Cory Paterson celebrated his 200th senior game with two tries, but it was a disappointing day for Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy on his return to his old club.

Duffy said: “I don’t think we deserved to win today. Featherstone wanted it a little bit more and controlled the ball better than us. Their halves and Lockwood and Bussey laid the platform early on and were nice and aggressive with us.

“We were a bit dumb, second half more than the first and I don’t think we deserved to win. They played the percentages well and threw us into error. We threw an interception and missed a one on one tackle and you can’t do that in big games. Unfortunately, we’ve done it again at an away game.”

Asked whether the prospect of going second had been highlighted, Duffy replied: “One hundred per cent yes. That’s what we wanted to do but the result didn’t go our way. We’ve got to move on and have a really good week now because we have a difficult game at Barrow next Sunday.

“We weren’t on it as a team today and got punished. The fans were absolutely superb as they have been all season and unfortunately, we couldn’t get the result for them.

“It’s another great year in the Championship and you have to be on your game every game and unfortunately we weren’t today.”

Leigh made a flying start with Paterson scything through on the angle for a perfectly worked third minute try but Rovers halfback Dane Chisholm soon had his side back to parity, creating the equalising score for Brad Day with a clever inside pass.

The visitors got their noses back in front midway through the first half, Forsyth finishing well in the corner after a sparkling break by Liam Hood set up the attack, but Martyn Ridyard couldn’t convert from the touchline.

Rovers took the lead when Luke Briscoe was on the end of a blindside left-wing move and cantered under the posts to make Chisholm’s second conversion a formality but Leigh edged 14-12 ahead after Paterson’s angled run again split the close range home defence for an unconverted try.

The game turned four minutes after the resumption as Chisholm intercepted a Ridyard pass with Leigh pressing close to the Rovers line and raced 90 metres to score, Leigh old boy Ben Reynolds, beginning a loan spell from Wakefield, converting.

Just before the hour-mark Josh Walters fastened onto a Reynolds pass to score a converted try that extended Rovers’ lead to ten points.

Forsyth provided an expert finish to a flowing Leigh move with two minutes remaining, Ridyard converting from the touchline, before time ran out on Leigh’s victory hopes.

Featherstone Rovers: Ash Golding; Will Dagger, Connor Casey, Josh Hardcastle, Luke Briscoe; Ben Reynolds, Dane Chisholm; Makahesi Makatoa, Jack Bussey, Wellington Albert, Brad Day, Josh Walters, James Lockwood.
Interchange: Daniel Maskill, Luke Cooper, James Harrison, Jack Ormondroyd.

Tries: Day (9), Briscoe (29), Chisholm (44), Walters (58).
Goals: Chisholm 3/ 3, Reynolds 1/ 1.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Liam Forsyth, Matty Costello, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham, Jordan Thompson, Toby Adamson, Cory Paterson, Luke Adamson.
Interchange: Liam Hood, Joe Cator, Jake Emmitt, Gareth Hock.

Tries: Paterson (3, 38), Forsyth (19, 78)
Goals: Ridyard 2/ 4

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
Attendance: 3,104
Penalty count: 6-8
Halftime: 12-14

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