Old hand Phil Joseph guided Swinton to a nail-biting 18-16 success against Oldham at the Willows.
The table-topping Lions looked like losing their unbeaten record until the big man took control after coming on for his second stint in the second half. Joseph scored the try that won the game and left coach Steve McCormack saying: “It’s the best game we’ve had all year but not necessarily our best performance.
“We looked a tired team while Oldham were tremendous and looked fresh and quick and put us under an awful amount of pressure.
“It was a game that could have gone away from us especially with the way we were playing.
“The character and a few calm heads when it really mattered just saw us through. It wasn’t our best performance but certainly our best win.
“Phil Joseph made a difference when he came back on and probably changed the game for us.”
It took 20 minutes for Swinton to take the lead when winger Rob Foxen barged over in the corner and Ian Mort fired over the touchline conversion.
Five minutes later Martin Ainscough broke the Oldham line and Mort improved it for a 12 nil lead.
But if the Lions thought it was job done Roughyeds and Neil Roden in particular had other ideas. His little kick through looked harmless until Alex Hurst hesitated and Paul Noone pounced to touch down.
Then Luke Stenchion wriggled through and Noone converted to make it 12-10 at half time.
Oldham’s purple patch continued after the break and Chris Clarke completed a sweeping move, Noone converted and the visitors were in front.
The Lions were facing defeat for the first time with Oldham defending heroically but like they have done so many times this season the Lions found a way to win.
The drama was far from over and in the final minute the Roughyeds thought they had won it with a try in the corner but the referee ruled it out.