Rams leave it late to clinch morale boosting win

PAUL SYKES broke his former club’s hearts for the second time this year with a match winning penalty on the hooter that earned Dewsbury a vital 16-14 victory over Bradford in their quest to get away from the relegation zone.

The twice ex-Bulls utility back landed the drop goal that knocked Bradford out of the Cup in March and again kicked the decisive points as the hooter sounded at the end of a game that the Rams bossed in the first half, before clinging on desperately after the break.

Even then it seemed that a Bulls penalty with just 50 seconds left on the clock had rescued a draw for a below par home side, but new coach Rohan Smith had few reasons to complain about the outcome.

Another former Bulls favourite, Glenn Morrison, who ironically was tipped for the Bulls job before it was given to Smith, pointed out how important the win was.

The Rams coach admitted: “At half time we have been in similar positions recently but haven’t been smart enough to put the game to bed.

“We had a 94 per cent completion in the second half and we really ground out a tough win.

“We were starting to look over our shoulder (in the league) and there are no easy games so we really needed the points.”

After another set-back to Bradford’s hopes of a top two finish, Smith conceded: “We lacked any sort of patience and cohesion and were looking to find the miracle pass or forced offload to get the points and we didn’t need to.”

A succession of handling errors meant the Bulls barely got into the Dewsbury half during the first 20 minutes.

The hosts defended in a commendable fashion but the dam finally burst when Shane Grady bulldozed through a couple of weak tackles to score.

Sykes converted and it took until the Bulls’ first completed set threatening the Rams line before the former Super League side came back into the match.

Oscar Thomas’s last tackle kick bounced loose and Jay Pitts was on hand to collect and twist his way over, with Danny Addy slotting over the conversion.

Aaron Brown was helped off after a head knock but it failed to disrupt the Rams tempo as a half break and offload by Scott Hale sent supporting Josh Guzdek over in the corner.

Sykes again notched the extras from out wide, then added a penalty just before the break to send his side in leading 14-6.

Addy pulled two points back through a penalty after a high tackle on Adam O’Brien, but as the penalty count mounted against the Rams, their defence became more desperate in the punishing heat and it seemed inevitable that the Bulls would score and O’Brien duly obliged.

And with 16 minutes remaining Addy surprisingly missed the conversion but then was gifted another chance to level the scores when Nathan Conroy went in high on Mitch Clark with just 50 seconds remaining on the clock.

Amazingly the drama still wasn’t over as Sidlow kicked ahead from the restart and, in the chase to retrieve possession, was penalised for a push off the ball.

All the jeers the Odsal crowd could muster were never likely to put Sykes off, on the turf he’s graced on and off since a teenager.

“I’ve spent a lot of time watching Paul kick goals at London and it was more in hope than confidence that I watched,” concluded one-time Broncos assistant coach Smith.

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