Heysham Atoms took another significant step towards promotion at St Helens Wild Boars on Saturday.
The home form of the Wild Boars has been impressive this season taking the scalps of Bold Miners, Hindpool Tigers and Chorley Panthers in recent weeks and the Atoms had to once again come-from-behind to secure victory.
And the two-week lay off due to sides being unable to field teams did the Heysham side no favours at all as they made a sluggish start.
Not until a brawl in the 30th minute did the visitors wake from their slumber as both sets of players slugged it out in the middle of the pitch. A red card for each side settled the two teams and left the Atoms fully focused on the task in hand.
Heysham had found themselves behind inside the first five minutes after some sloppy defence and it took until seven minutes later for the Atoms to mount their first meaningful attack.
Stuart Lacey worked his way across the line finding a hole to put Dan Ginocchio into and the centre drew the last defender and passed to winger Matty Short who finished off in the corner.
The Atoms’ middle defence then went missing for a second time however as the Wild Boars took a 12-4 lead.
The strong arm tactics employed by the St Helens outfit were only going to be tolerated for so long and sure enough in the 30th minute the lid blew off.
Once the dust had settled and cards had been handed out the visitors needed to respond and did with hooker for the day Daniel Helme jumping out of dummy half, spotting a gap and propelling himself over the line for his fifth try of the season.
Curtis Lacey and Liam Hall then went close as the Atoms pressurised the Wild Boars line but there was to be no more scoring in the first half.
And the Wild Boars were soon to be 12 points in front as two tries after the break took them into a 22-10 lead.
A few tactical changes brought the Atoms back into things however, as they took a more direct approach with Andy Garnett moving into the pack.
Jason Short forced his way over the line with a brave drive and then Andrew Collins got on the end of a well placed Stuart Lacey kick to bring the scores level at 22-22 with just under a quarter of the game to go.
A wide play from the Wild Boars then gave them their fifth try of the game before the Atoms responded with a Jack Lawton try as he injected himself into the three-quarter line arcing around the cover and scoring close to the posts.
The Wild Boars thought they had won it when they scored a fortuitous try wide on the left as the Atoms found themselves in a familiar position.
But they again showed how much it meant to the club summoning up the required will and desire to find their way over the line one last time.
It was the in-form Al Crookall who scored the crucial try proving unstoppable when in range of the white-wash.
The try took some scoring but the Atoms just wouldn’t be denied, Lacey kicking his fifth goal of the game with four minutes remaining to give the Atoms a slender two-point lead.
Lacey and Crookall both put in some big shots as the Wild Boars tried to force the game into Atoms territory with man of the match Dan Helme intelligently kicking from the dummy half position to run the clock down and see the game out for a somewhat relieved Heysham side.