Huddersfield Giants sprang a Super League surprise as they grabbed a victory at home against leaders Hull FC.
A committed performance from the side that were languishing in 11th place at the start of the game brought an end to the Airlie Birds 10 match winning sequence, and put the Giants within four points of the coveted Super 8s with three games to play before the split.
Lee Radford had to make changes from the Challenge Cup quarter final line-up as Jamie Shaul, Liam Watts and captain Gareth Ellis dropped out with niggling injuries.
Veteran centre Kirk Yeaman also dropped out, he was replaced in the back-line by Carlos Tuimavave whose stand-off role was handed to Leon Pryce.
Curtis Naughton returned to the first team having played for the under 23s at the weekend, Chris Green and Frank Pritchard came into the starting 13 after beginning the cup match on the bench.
Giants interim coach Andy Kelly was without Scott Grix and Joe Wardle due to injury and talisman captain Danny Brough was suspended.
Hull-bound utility back Jake Connor moved from wing to full-back, Kruise Leeming returned to the side having missed the cup exit against Wakefield, along with Sam Wood and Ryan Brierley.
The Giants made the better of a dull opening few minutes with their forwards gaining some good yardage and the short kicking of Jamie Ellis asking questions of the Black & Whites defence early on.
The first real chance went to the visitors as Ryan Hinchcliffe knocked on in the Giants half of the field but committed defence from the home side held them out before they were given a penalty to clear their lines.
A controversial penalty for a non-existent ball steal presented the Giants with an opportunity and they took full advantage as Michael Lawrence got on the end of a grubber from Ellis to score the first points after 17 minutes, the conversion from Ellis gave the home side a totally undeserved six point lead.
Another debatable penalty for the Giants gave them another chance near the Hull line and they forced a goal line drop out next, but from the kick by Marc Sneyd, Ukuma Ta’ai lost the ball in the first tackle.
Hull’s next visit to the Giants line saw some frantic attack and then a grubber from Sneyd forced a goal line drop out, then interference from Leroy Cudjoe gave Hull a penalty at close quarters with the Giants try line.
More committed defending from the home side still held them out from that chance.
Huddersfield were marched from their own end to the Hull end with back-to-back penalties, the last of which was converted by Ellis to give the Giants an eight point lead at half-time.
The first opportunity of the second half went the way of the Airlie Birds as Aaron Murphy knocked on, from the scrum Hull attacked, on the last tackle Steve Michaels appeared to get the ball down on the line despite the attentions of three defenders but the try was ruled out by the video referee.
A penalty soon gave the Black and Whites another chance and, from a short ball by Danny Houghton, Danny Washbrook crashed over for a try after 44 minutes, Marc Sneyd made it a two point game with the conversion.
The Giants were soon given a chance to respond however when Tuimavave knocked on close to the Hull line, from a short grubber a mistake by Washbrook presented Tom Symonds with a simple try after 47 minutes, the conversion from Ellis gave them an eight point lead again.
Another penalty for a high shot gave the Giants another chance and in controversial circumstances Jermaine McGillvary scored from a blatant knock on to make it a 12 point lead, the conversion was off target.
Connor then kicked a fantastic 40/20 to give the Giants another chance and McGillvary crossed for a second time in two minutes and the Giants had a 16 point lead with 25 minutes left to play, Ellis was off target with the conversion again.
Another silly penalty given away by Hull gave the Giants more territory and possession which saw another goal line drop out forced.
Hull were given a chance with back-to-back penalties but, as so often, the chance was wasted as Michaels was unable to get on the end of a wide kick from Sneyd.
Another mistake from the Airlie Birds came from a Sneyd pass that flew into touch, the possession for the Giants saw them force another goal line drop out, but the resulting chance for the Giants suffered the same fate.
Try as they might the Airlie Birds couldn’t get a grip on the game, thanks mainly to committed defending and enthusiasm of the home side.
A penalty with three minutes remaining for the Airlie Birds was duly converted with a try by Mahe Fonua, the conversion from Sneyd reduced the Giants lead to ten points.
The Giants held on for a remarkable, if slightly controversial, victory in the end leaving the race for the league leaders shield wide open, the only consolation for the Black & Whites was the man of the match being new signing for next year Jake Connor.
Penalties: Giants 8 Hull FC 11
Goal Line Drop Outs: Giants 1 Hull FC 3
40/20 Giants 1 (Connor) Hull FC 0
Man of the Match: Jake Connor
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