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Super League: Leaders Huddersfield beat Hull FC 24-10 to go three points clear
Early pacesetters Huddersfield extended their lead at the top of the Super League to three points after grinding out an ugly 24-10 win over Hull FC.
Buoyed by their 52-0 rout of Castleford, Hull threatened to inflict a second consecutive home defeat on the leaders when they led 10-6 early in the second half but the Giants finished the stronger side to claim a sixth win from seven attempts.
Huddersfield dominated the opening quarter but only had an opportunist try from hooker Shaun Lunt to show for their efforts. He dummied his way past a sprawling Chris Green for the opening try after 18 minutes and Danny Brough added the conversion to put his side into a 6-0 lead.
Eventually, the visitors gained a foothold in the game and stand-off Daniel Holdsworth was able to start applying some pressure on the Huddersfield defence with some attacking kicks.
The home side were indebted to left winger Aaron Murphy, who demonstrated safe hands to take care of most of the high kicks from Holdsworth, and they were grateful for the half-time whistle for some respite.
Hull's only first-half try came from second-rower Ben Galea, who took Danny Houghton's short pass on the burst to crash through the Huddersfield defence.
Holdsworth's conversion attempt rebounded off an upright but Hull thought they had scored again five minutes before half-time when centre Ben Crooks touched down a Holdsworth kick.
Referee Phil Bentham initially disallowed the try for offside before handing over the decision to video official Richard Silverwood, who ruled a knock-on by Crooks.
However, there was no denying Crooks five minutes into the second half when he followed up a grubber kick by full-back Shannon McDonnell to touch down after the bounce of the ball deceived Huddersfield defender Jermaine McGillvary.
Holdsworth's goal made it 10-6 but the lead was short-lived as Huddersfield recovered from their lethargy. Murphy scored the Giants' second try, touching down at the corner after centre Joe Wardle had cleverly flicked on Brough's cut-out pass.
Brough's touchline conversion edged his side back in front but Hull stepped up their efforts and it took some resolute defence to keep them out, with Richard Horne and Houghton both going preciously close to scoring.
Huddersfield extended their lead after 65 minutes when Wardle finished off the best move of the match, breaking out of his own half and taking a return pass to touch down for his side's third try.
Brough was off target for the first time with the attempted conversion but made amends five minutes later with a 40-metre penalty to put his side two scores in front.
Hull battled to the end, though, and had a try from England winger Tom Briscoe disallowed for a forward pass before Leroy Cudjoe broke away to send full-back Scott Grix over for the game's final try.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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