Thatto Heath Crusaders piled the pressure back on Siddal at the top of the National Conference League with a 16-6 win at Crusader Park.

The win means Thatto close the gap to just three points, whilst giving them breathing space ahead of third place Rochdale Mayfield who beat Wath Brow Hornets.

In a weekend that threatened to shake up the top four, Thatto produced a brilliant defensive display to halt the league’s most potent offence.

However, the game wasn’t plain sailing for the home side, conceding first points and struggling for any field position in the first twenty.

Penalties and handling errors saw Thatto defend multiple sets on their line before Siddal broke the deadlock through loose forward Ganaan Smithies.

A simple cut-out pass from the play the ball saw Smithies crass over the line, Joe Martin swept over the conversion to give his side a 6-0 lead with a quarter gone.

Much like the rest of the season, Thatto would be their own worst enemy. Already placed on a team warning Matty Norton was sent to the sin bin for a foul in the ruck.

Thatto a try down and a man down, Siddal had the opportunity to go all out and take a strong stance in the game.

Surprisingly the away side couldn’t capitalise on this and it was Thatto who grew into the game more and more.

Hitting back through star second rower Jamie Tracey scoring his 14th try of the season. A lucky ricochet, from Jack Jones short side kick, fell Tracey’s way to kick on and score.

Dan Birkett started an impressive day with the boot converting Tracey’s try before adding an extra two penalty goals to stretch the scores to 10-6 at halftime.

Having turned around the game Thatto took a deserved halftime lead, taking points when on offer which would prove to be a solid game plan.

The second half would bring around a titanic defensive effort from the home side as Siddal threw everything at them in an attempt to win.

Thatto increased their lead just five minutes into the second half as Niall Allen crossed in the corner.

A neat sweeping play saw Corey Lee deliver a perfectly timed ball to give Allen the space needed to dive over in the corner. Birkett swung the conversion over from out wide to make it 16-6.

This would be enough to hang on for the win, a massive one for their playoff hopes. Thatto head away to Egremont Rangers next week whereas Siddal are at home to Wigan St. Pats