Castleford Tigers let half-time lead slip lose to at home to Hull FC

Greg Minikin goes over for a first half try for Castleford Tigers against Hull. Picture: James Heaton
Greg Minikin goes over for a first half try for Castleford Tigers against Hull. Picture: James Heaton

Castleford Tigers let a 10-point half-time lead slip as they lost 31-18 to Hull despite producing an improved display.

In front of a disappointing crowd of 6,344 the Tigers looked to be set for back to back home victories when they opened up a 14-4 lead in the first half and were good value for it with a committed display.

Castleford Tigers tacklers wrap up Jamie Shaul. Picture: James Heaton

Castleford Tigers tacklers wrap up Jamie Shaul. Picture: James Heaton

But Hull ripped up the script with a series of smart tries after the break and one controversial effort, which seemed to knock the stuffing out of Cas.

Albert Kelly and Ratu Naulago shared Hull's five tries while Jake Connor also proved a thorn in the Tigers' side.

Cas struck first in the tenth minute when Greg Minikin was put through a gap by Peter Mata'utia's pass to score the opening try.

It went unconverted as did Hull's reply four minutes later after Jake Connor's superb offload sent Ratu Naulago over in the corner.

Both sides were completing their sets well and defending equally well and it was proving hard to make headway for a spell. Cas took the chance to nudge back in front when a ball steal near his own posts by Jamie Shaul gave Mata'utia the opportunity to kick a penalty goal.

A further Mata'utia goal stretched the lead to 8-4 before the Tigers came up with their second try five minutes from half-time. Jake Trueman's grubber kick was knocked-on by Albert Kelly and Junior Moors marked his return from injury by picking the loose ball up to go over for a score improved by Mata'utia.

It stayed 14-4 to the break, although there was one late alarm when Marc Sneyd attempted a kick and chase and Mike McMeeken had to be alert to hack the ball clear.

Hull came out fired up for the second half and after Sneyd's grubber kick forced a goalline drop-out they scored as smart handling set up Naulago for his second try, which was goaled from the touchline by Sneyd.

Trueman earned Cas a drop-out at the other end, but nothing came of the resulting attacking set as Minikin was adjudged to have knocked-on close to the line when home fans believed a penalty should have been given for interference.

They were quickly made to pay the penalty themselves as Hull were over again with Kelly backing up Connor's strong break for a long range try that was converted by Sneyd.

More Cas pressure came to nothing and the visitors nudged four points ahead with a Sneyd penalty.

The Tigers levelled, however, as a swift move of their own ended when Greg Eden reached out to ground the ball over the line.

The big controversial moment came on 64 minutes when Sneyd's high kick was knocked down by Connor and touched down over the line by Kelly. It looked to have gone forward, but after countless looks video referee James Child awarded a try.

He evened up the controversy soon after as another Sneyd high kick was taken by Connor and he appeared to send Shaul over, but no try was awarded as the Hull centre was adjudged to have been tackled before he got the ball away.

Relieved Cas tried to take their chance to hit back as Trueman's kick forced a drop-out, but it was all over when Hull got another breakaway try.

It looked like the Tigers were set to score, but Cheyse Blair's pass went behind winger Eden and he dropped it. Naulago picked up to race 50 metres downfield and sent the supporting Kelly over for his hat-trick try.

Sneyd converted and added a late drop-goal to complete the scoring.

Scorers - Castleford: Tries Minikin, Moors, Eden; goals Mata'utia 3. Hull: Tries Naulago 2, Kelly 3; goals Sneyd 5; drop-goal Sneyd.

Castleford Tigers: Mata'utia; Clare, Minikin, Blair, Eden; Rankin, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Smith, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Millington, Milner, Moors, Cook.

Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Buchanan, Connor, Naulago; Kelly, Sneyd; Green, Houghton, Paea, Hadley, Minichiello, Westerman. Subs: Taylor, Fash, Washbrook, Savelio.

Referee: Robert Hicks

Half-time: 14-4.

Attendance: 6,344.