Rovers coach Sharp: Too many players had off days against Rochdale

Jon Sharp: "We just werent ruthless enough."
Jon Sharp: "We just werent ruthless enough."

Featherstone Rovers had only themselves to blame as they slipped to their first Championship defeat this season with a bitterly disappointing display against Rochdale Hornets at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.

Lewis Palfrey’s penalty goal three minutes from time gave newly-promoted Hornets a surprise 10-9 win as they condemned Rovers to their first home league defeat since Leigh Centurions beat them 30-24 last April.

It was almost a re-run of Featherstone’s previous home league game against Oldham this season, only this time time Rovers were edged out

With a 15-7 pennalty count in their favour, Featherstone were on top territorially for much of the game but were guilty of poor decision-making in atrocious conditions.

Their finishing let them down as a handful of chances went begging and they also spurned three kickable first-half penalties.

Rovers coach Jon Sharp said: “There were probably four or five scoring chances that we blew and that just summed it up for us.

“We just weren’t ruthless enough.

“There were too many blokes having off days all at once.”

Rovers trailed 8-2 at half-time after frequently losing possession in the wet, heavy conditions in the first-half.

Palfrey put Hornets in front with a 11th minute penalty goal before Michael Knowles squared matters with a 32nd minute goal.

They were awarded that penalty after Anthony Thackeray sent Ian Hardman bursting through and Rochdale’s Daniel Yates was sin-binned for holding him down.

While they were down to 12 men, Hornets surprisingly regained the lead three minutes later when Palfrey sent in Danny Bridge and Palfrey converted.

Palfrey failed with a 47th minute kick at goal before Rovers made it 8-8 when Thackeray created the opeing for centre Chris Ulugia to cross and on-loan Corey Aston added the extras.

Rovers went close several times before Anthony Thackeray edged them 9-8 ahead with a 68th minute drop goal.

However, Rochdale came out on top when Josh Crowley’s surging run break led to Featherstone being caught offside and Palfrey kicked the resultant 30-yard angled penalty in the closing stages.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Ulugia, Turner; Thackeray, Wildie; Mariano, Carlile, Moore, Knowles, Walton, Davies. Subs: Aston, Lockwood, Bostock, Griffin.

Rochdale Hornets: Greenwood; Holmes, Case, Eccleston, Massam; Palfrey, Yates; Taira, Moores, Bennion, Wild, Crowley, Middlehurst. Subs: Lobwein, Francis, Hadden, Bridge.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).

Attendance: 1,839.