Leigh Centurions suffered their third straight away defeat, losing 28-24 against Wakefield Trinity at the Beaumont Legal Stadium on Thursday.
The home side overturned a 12-point half-time deficit to come away with the two points.
Wakefield had won two of their previous three games and were slight favourites on the Betvictor android app at http://www.
Keen for a good response after a comprehensive 38-14 defeat away to Leeds Rhinos last week, Wakefield head coach Chris Chester brought in Liam Finn for Jacob Miller at half-back.
The Trinity pack also saw several changes – David Fifita coming in at prop, while Dean Hadley was named at hooker as Craig Huby and Kyle Wood dropped to the bench. Danny Kirmond replaced Hadley in the back row.
Centurions had won two on the spin on home turf, but were yet to pick up a point away from Leigh Sports Village.
Head coach Neil Jukes was forced to make just one change from the side which eased past Warrington Wolves last week, Danny Tickle replacing the suspended Glenn Stewart.
The former Catalan back-rower was banned for two matches after admitting a grade C high tackle on Wolves’ half-back Kevin Brown.
Leigh’s Ben Reynolds dotted down for the first try of the match inside five minutes, after being fed by Tickle following an initial good run from Gareth Hock. Reynolds nailed the conversion to give the Centurions a 6-0 lead.
After struggling to build any pressure near the Leigh line, the hosts were handed a prime opportunity when Ryan Hampshire was ruled to have knocked on following Finn’s bomb despite the ball appearing to travel backwards.
Fifita took full advantage brushing past Josh Drinkwater before passing to Joe Arundel, who grounded the ball.
Trinity registered a second try in three minutes, Scott Grix dummying before racing over in the corner after Finn’s pass.
Wakefield’s ill-discipline allowed the visitors to draw level, Trinity conceding two penalties in a minute before Micky Higham squeezed across from dummy half.
The Centurions looked to make a strong finish to the first half, Sam Hopkins benefitting from some quick-thinking from Higham before crossing over for his 50th Leigh try with ten minutes remaining until the break.
The visitors soon moved 12 points ahead of their West Yorkshire opponents, Ben Crooks allowed to ghost through the Trinity line and ground the ball in the corner.
In an attempt to keep the scoreboard ticking over in his side’s favour, Josh Drinkwater attempted a drop goal in the final minute but sent the kick wide of the mark.
Tom Johnstone gave Trinity a platform from which to try to come back into the match, showing good footwork which allowed him to skip past Hampshire with ease and cross over.
Just as Matty Dawson looked to have put a dent in Wakefield’s fight back by crossing over just before the hour mark, the try was chalked off after referee Chris Campbell ruled Hampshire’s pass was forward.
A minute later the momentum swung back firmly with the hosts, Miller coming off the bench to take Finn’s kick and dive over underneath the sticks. Williams slotted the conversion between the posts to draw Wakefield level going into the final quarter.
The Trinity half-back then showed great vision to send a kick cross field straight into the path of Ben Jones Bishop who battled past Dawson, scoring his 100th career try and giving Wakefield the lead with 14 minutes left.
Leigh attempted to snatch all two points from the hosts in the final stages, but couldn’t find a way through as Trinity secured a hard-fought victory.
The result left Wakefield with six points during the current campaign, level with seventh-placed Leigh with a game in hand.
Both teams are back in action in the next round of fixtures, with Trinity heading to France to face Catalan Dragons while the Centurions host struggling Widnes Vikings on Saturday, 1st April.