JACK Croft’s winning try four minutes from the end of a Bower Fold thriller was reward for Oldham’s courage, self-belief, tough tackling and dogged determination to come out on top.

“Gritty,” was how Matt Diskin described it. He would have liked it to be “more clinical” but he felt that would come in time. For now, he was happy to applaud total commitment, honest endeavour and a will to win that saw Roughyeds dominate the second half after trailing 4-12 at the break.

That’s two home wins from two in the Championship; three from three if you throw in a Betfred Challenge Cup win against Barrow Raiders.

No wonder captain Gareth Owen is talking of ‘Fortress Fold’ rather than ‘Bower Fold’.

Though not as razor-sharp in turning chances into points as Diskin would like, Owen’s battlers seem to be perfecting the art in home games of dominating opponents when playing down the slope in the second half.

They beat Swinton 28-20 with 18 unanswered points in a stirring second half.

This win was similar in its execution. They won the toss, chose to play uphill first half, trailed 12-4 at half-time and then went out in the second half and swept aside Panthers just as they had seen off the Lions.

It wasn’t pretty, pretty stuff -- it was tough, hard, rugged rugby with each of the 17 men on duty putting his body on the line and with an ever-growing belief in each other and belief in the collective’s ability to make ‘Fortress Fold’ its own.

Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “We toughed it out. We are fortunate to have a group who want to get better and who know that to do that they have to work hard.

“As the clock ran down, my big fear was that we weren’t going to get what we deserved, but the lads told me it was all about timing and that’s why they left it late !

“Seriously, I’m really happy for them because I know how much they put in and what it means to them.”

There were 76 minutes on the clock when on-loan Croft, the young centre who is moving up the pecking order at Wakefield Trinity, squeezed over wide out, after snappy left to right handling by Gregory, Charnock and Green, to put Oldham in front for the first time.

Croft, a 20-year-old who is going up in the world, had a big game in his first loan outing and produced an explosive break to create the first Oldham try for his winger, Tommy Brierley.

That cut Halifax’s lead to 6-4, but the visitors scored their second try on the stroke of half-time for a 12-4 lead.

Then came the fightback. Prop Reilly, back in the side after missing away defeats by Batley and London Broncos, smashed his way through the Panthers’ forwards to put Roughyeds right back in the game.

After that, Oldham hammered away at the Panthers line and several players went close before Croft did the business

as the clock ticked down.

Scorers: Oldham -- goals, Green 2/3; tries, Brierley, Reilly, Croft; Halifax -- goals, Robinson 2/2; tries, McGrath, Woodburn-Hall.

OLDHAM: Green; Brierley, Croft, Roberts, Holcroft; Charnock, Hewitt; Kirk, Owen, Nelmes, Bent, Langtree, Spencer. Subs, Gregory, Fletcher, Bibby, Reilly.

HALIFAX: Woodburn-Hall; McGrath, Barber, Worthington, Rawsthorne; Harris, Robinson; Calcott, Moore, Tangata, Garside, Hewitt, Larroyer. Subs: Bourouh, Springer, Kavanagh, Tibbs.