North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray has called on his players to build on yesterday’s 24-22 victory at Whitehaven with back-to-back home matches coming up.
Murray’s side struck twice in the final five minutes to clinch a deserved two points at top-of-the-table Haven.
Crusaders were unfortunate to find themselves 18-16 down at the break, having controlled the match for large parts of the first-half.
However, North Wales showed real determination late on and Karl Ashall’s try in the final minute secured the win.
“I’m really pleased, but I’m not surprised because we’re capable of doing that and we’ve proved it during the course of the season,” Murray said.
“The main aim for us was to be better than we were against Newcastle, particularly defensively.
“I think the players were slightly embarrassed after the Newcastle defeat because defensively we haven’t been too far off this season.
“We knew Whitehaven would be really strong, one dimensional and rely heavily on their forwards. They also use a lot of offloads and try to catch you.
“I felt we dealt with that quite well.
“When we went behind, we didn’t panic, showed better game management than we have done previously and I thought we were worthy winners.
“You can’t take anything away from the players because we’ve come all the way to Cumbria and got the win.
“I think this is the third time we’ve beaten them at home and it’s a really difficult place to visit.”
Crusaders now face Keighley Cougars and Workington Town over the next two weeks, giving them a good chance to build some momentum.
“What’s been so frustrating for me as the coach and everyone else involved with Crusaders is that we’ve not been far away all season,” Murray added.
“There are ifs and maybes throughout any season, but the three games that have cost us heavily are Oldham, Keighley and London. We lost by two points and one point.
“If we win those and up here at Whitehaven, we’re on 14 points and we’re where we should be in the table on a very limited budget.
“It’s no good us coming here, getting the two points and then not backing it up in the two home games we’ve got.
“If I am honest, I think our home performances need to improve and we haven’t got a better opportunity than in this next fortnight.
“We’re not out of that race for fifth spot as there are plenty of games to go yet.
“We’ve got to back ourselves and keep moving forward.”
North Wales host Keighley Cougars at Queensway Stadium at 2.30pm on Sunday, June 30.
Tickets are priced at £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £2 for U16s.