IT was never going to be as inspirational and as exhilarating as last week's battling performance in defeat against Championship leaders Toulouse Olympique, but even so Roughyeds fought every inch of the way and never once threw in the towel in their 48-10 defeat against second-placed Featherstone Rovers.

They're not down yet, but it looks like they're going to have beat Widnes Vikings, Newcastle Thunder and Dewsbury Rams in their last three games and hope the Rams go down at Sheffield and at Batley before a showdown at Dewsbury when Oldham go there on the last day of the season.

Clearly bearing in mind that Brian McDermott's men did themselves proud against Toulouse, street-wise, no-nonsense Featherstone set out their stall to break Oldham hearts as quickly as possible and to get the game under lock and key before the home side got ideas above their station.

They went 20-0 up inside the first quarter of an hour and it was game, set and match even then; well though Roughyeds did for the rest of the first half when they clawed back 10 points and went in at half-time only 26-10 in arrears.

Even though a crack Rovers side, which contained at least eight former Super League men, showed who was boss early on by scoring tries from hooker Dean Parata, second-row Brett Ferres, centre Kris Welham and prop Craig Kopczak inside the first 14 minutes, credit Oldham with the self-belief and the desire to play their best rugby of the match for the next 25 minutes.

The home forwards got among their celebrated opponents – in much the same way they took Toulouse by surprise the week before – and suddenly Rovers didn't quite look so invincible.

They made two or three errors in quick succession, showing they were rattled at that stage, and with good ball in their opponents half, Roughyeds began to look capable of putting points on the board.

Joe Hartley, back in the side at centre because of injury to Tommy Brierley, looked full of running and full of confidence and it was his break on Danny Langtree's pass that set up position from which on-loan Harvey Spence kicked for the corner and there was Hartley to collect and touch down.

After that, Roughyeds went close on two or three occasions and especially so when they moved the ball right via Spence, Dan Abram and Hartley in a slick-looking raid which looked to have produced a second try when Ryan Ince dived in spectacularly in the corner. He had put a toe on the touchline, however, so Oldham were denied.

Rovers were put further on the back foot when half-back Dan Chisholm was sin-binned for retaliation, but Oldham couldn't make it count– and Rovers did.

It was the direct result of a penalty against Dec Gregory in the same Chisholm incident that prop Craig Kopczak smashed his was through for a try, goaled by Brett Ferres, to put the visitors 26-4 to the good.

But Oldham continued to threaten and on the stroke of half-time they scored a stunning try which Dan Abram converted off the touchline.

Dave Hewitt chipped, regathered on the first bounce and in one movement whipped the ball left to Danny Bridge, who crossed unopposed.

If Oldham were to build on this they needed to score first after the break, but exactly the opposite happened.

From the restart kick, big sub forward Dale Ferguson charged through Oldham's right-flank defence and sent in full-back Alex Walker with an inside ball that looked suspiciously forward.

The Ferres goal edged Featherstone into a 32-10 lead and from there they never looked back as their big forwards started to plunder up the middle.

Oldham tried desperately hard to stem the flow and to get more points on the board, but they struggled to maintain the standards they had set in the second quarter of the game.

They rarely threatened again and Rovers added further tries by Parata, Ferres and Walker to finish comfortable winners.