Halifax 0-14 Toronto: Wolfpack see off stubborn Halifax
By Press Association Sport
Last Updated: 12/08/18 6:48pm
Toronto Wolfpack made a 14-0 winning start to their Super 8s Qualifiers but were made to work hard for the points by Halifax.
The visitors needed a try from Andrew Dixon four minutes from the end to finally see off their hosts at the Shay and edge closer to a potential place in Super League for 2019.
The Canadian side finished eight points clear of their rivals at the end of the Championship season but Halifax provided a fair indication of the size of their task if they are to gain promotion.
Toronto's laboured success was down to their defensive resolve rather than flair and the final whistle will have brought some relief to coach Paul Rowley after his side suffered a surprise home defeat by Featherstone, in the last match of the regular season.
In addition to spirited opponents, the visitors had to overcome major disruption, with second row forwards Dixon and Cory Paterson playing most of the game in the three-quarters after both wingers Matty Russell and Liam Kay went off injured inside the first 23 minutes.
However, Toronto dominated the opening exchanges and could have had two tries in the first quarter with steadier finishing.
Full-back Gareth O'Brien broke clear to get Russell over the line, only for the former Warrington winger to lose the ball in second rower Shane Grady's last-ditch tackle, while Chase Stanley had a try disallowed for a forward pass.
Prop Adam Sidlow was then held up over the line but, as Halifax came more into the game, Wales second rower Chester Butler went close to opening the scoring for the home side.
The breakthrough came five minutes before half-time when replacement hooker Andy Ackers forced his way over from close range and O'Brien converted the try to make it 6-0.
The Yorkshire side were never going to roll over, though, and a 40-20 kick from skipper Scott Murrell early in the second half created a glorious chance for substitute Elliot Morris as he went close to an equalising score.
Unable to shake off their gritty opponents, the Wolfpack took the option of kicking for goal after being awarded a penalty midway through the second half and O'Brien was on the mark from 30 metres out to open up a two-score advantage.
With their defence remaining watertight, Toronto never looked like relinquishing the lead but they could only breathe easily when Dixon burst through for their second try on 76 minutes, with O'Brien kicking his third goal.