WHAT a finish. Ten minutes from the end of a hard-fought slog at Wrexham, played in awful conditions, Oldham trailed 14-4 and looked a well-beaten side.

There looked no way back for Scott Naylor’s boys who trailed North West Crusaders 14-0 at one stage and had not adapted to the wet ball and saturated pitch as well as the fired-up hosts.

Forty-eight hours after the whole of Wales celebrated St David’s Day, fans of the Wrexham-based club were already chanting their victory songs from as early as the 50th minute when a Ben Stead penalty goal put them 14 points clear.

You could not blame them, either.

Up to that point Crusaders had totally commanded the war of attrition in the early-spring rain, drizzle and low cloud.

With a good kicking game and a defence that took no prisoners they kept Roughyeds pinned mainly in their own half.

The visitors rarely looked like opening their account but all that was to change dramatically with two tries by Lee Kershaw against the run of play, the first midway through the second half and the second – the crucial one – with only 10 minutes left.

The young on-loan winger from Wakefield Trinity, still aged only 20 years old, was Oldham’s hero when he scored a great solo try from close range through a packed defence to give Scott Naylor’s men a lifeline with his first try.

But it was his second which knocked the stuffing out of the visibly tiring Crusaders and at last gave Oldham the belief that all was not yet lost.

They were defending and struggling to keep the Welsh at bay, as they had done for most of the game, when Kershaw cleverly anticipated Elliott Jenkins’ wide pass to Dave Eckersley and nipped in from a brilliant interception to race 80 metres for a try which Dave Hewitt converted.

Amazingly, Roughyeds were now only one converted try from the most unlikely of wins.

Crusaders were stunned; the visitors had belief for the first time in the game, which was evident from their body language, and the travelling fans gave the Roughyeds fantastic vocal support.

There were still five minutes left on the clock when the intelligent and hugely talented Anthony Bowman pushed through Crusaders’ defensive line, got his hands free and delivered an exquisite pass to his left which sent Hewitt in for the equalising try.

His easy conversion took Oldham two points clear and that was enough to keep them in third place in Betfred League 1 with four points out of a possible six.

Kershaw and Bowman were the visitors’ best in a tough, physical encounter that produced two yellow cards.

The first went to Oldham’s Aaron Jones-Bishop for a spear tackle on Rob Massam and the second for the home side’s Eckersley for a similar offence on his opposite number and former Oldham colleague, Kershaw.

Team: Hawkyard; Jones-Bishop, McComb, Grimshaw, Kershaw; Bowman, Hewitt; Joy, Owen, Law, Calland, Whittel, Bent. Subs: Spencer, Davies, Wilkinson, Gwaze.