North Wales Crusaders’ three-match winning run came to an end as a patched-up side fell to a respectable defeat at high-flying Oldham.
Oldham is always a difficult place to visit but, with four regular first-team players absent and Earl Hurst limping off after two minutes, it made life a whole lot harder for Crusaders.
However, North Wales were never too far out of reach and led 10-6 as the match entered the second quarter.
Despite the home side getting a grip of the game and leading 34-14 at one stage in the second-half, Crusaders continued to dig in there.
But, as they were chasing the game, Oldham took advantage of any errors and secured the two points.
Crusaders opened the scoring when they shifted the ball to the left, Jack Houghton made a half break and manged to pop a nice offload out to Ben Stead, who touched down out wide.
After receiving back-to-back penalties, though, Oldham hit back as they went to the right flank and Richie Hawkyard exploited a gap to cross.
However, the visitors were soon back in the ascendency and, when they were awarded a penalty as Oldham moved off the mark, they opted to kick for goal, with Stead giving them a two-point lead.
In Crusaders’ next attacking set, Stead lofted a high kick into the air and Rob Massam was taken out off the ball. With a penalty in good field position, Stead added on another two points, taking the advantage to 10-6.
But Oldham responded well with two tries in quick succession to put themselves in front for the first time in the game.
Following another set of back-to-back penalties, Danny Bridge managed to squeeze his way over down the left.
Although the home side nearly fumbled the kick-off, Lee Kershaw collected the ball, rounded Dave Eccleston and had the pace to break down the left wing, touching down in the corner.
Oldham then extended their lead to 22-10, with Hawkyard exploiting another gap to cross for his second of the afternoon.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to add another in the second-half as Dave Hewitt made a break and put Matty Wilkinson over on his inside.
However, Crusaders responded and a couple of nice offloads in the middle of the park created the space for Simon Atherton to cross in the right corner.
After Atherton went close to grabbing another, with Oldham halting him short of the line, the home side went over through Phil Joy, who bulldozed his way over from close range.
As the game looked to be getting away from North Wales, the Wrexham side managed to get themselves back within range after two tries in quick succession.
Matt Reid made a break down the left and, despite being stopped in his tracks, he passed to Massam, who had the strength to dive over in the left corner.
In the next set from the kick-off, Crusaders shifted the ball to the right, Eccleston chipped inside and Dec Gregory was in the right place to collect the ball, dotting down next to the sticks.
As the away side chased the game, though, they came up with an error and Harry Aaronson collected to race clear.
Aaronson then grabbed his second late on, finishing acrobatically in the right corner after Oldham had created numbers out wide.
But it was Crusaders who had the final say, with Massam somehow collecting a high kick to wrestle his way over in the corner.
Tries: Hawkyard (13, 34), Bridge (26), Kershaw (28), Wilkinson (42), Joy (52), Aaronson (68, 75)
Goals: Hewitt (7/8)
Tries: Stead (5), Atherton (48), Massam (60, 77), Gregory (62),
Goals: Stead 5/7
Referee: Liam Staveley