Bulls made it four Championship wins from five yesterday, but they staggered over the line in the end at rock-bottom Swinton.

Two tries in the space of 90 seconds late on put the hosts one point behind, but the Bradford defence held firm to secure an unconvincing victory.

Bulls started the game slowly, and conceded the opening score.

Martyn Ridyard was flatted in front of the posts, and from the resulting penalty, Jack Hansen flicked the ball out to Nico Rizzelli, who grounded the ball under pressure in the corner.

Ridyard missed the extras, and the early score seemed to wake the Bulls up.

David Foggin-Johnston thought he was over in the corner, but the referee ruled the ball was not grounded, but soon after, quick hands and feet from Tom Doyle caught the Lions defence out, and he flew in under the posts for a converted score.

Ridyard tried to put his side back ahead, and he sent Deane Meadows through with a low kick, but Meadows opted to punt instead of pick up and smacked it out of play.

That bad decision proved key when, moments later, Brandon Pickersgill showed lovely feet to escape a couple of Swinton challenges on the left edge.

Foggin-Johnston provided an option inside, and the winger took the pass in and sprinted under the posts for a try, Brough’s conversion making it 12-4.

A Brough kick through was knocked on by Foggin-Johnston with the line at his mercy, but Bulls soon had their third try.

Pickersgill was causing real problems and he scooted through the middle at pace, evaded a couple of tackles and then fed Brough for a simple score under the posts.

Brough’s conversion made it 18-4 and the first half looked to be ending on a high for the visitors.

But with the hooter about to sound, Bulls inexplicably allowed winger Luis Roberts, from practically a standing start, to escape a couple of tackles and waltz over from far out. Ridyard converted to make it 18-10.

Pickersgill almost set up tries for Joe Brown and Ben Evans at the start of the second half, with Brown run out of play as he tried to squeeze the ball down in the right corner.

But after just failing to grab himself some assists, Pickersgill decided to go over himself, beating a couple of tackles on the left edge, before using his pace to dive across the line.

Brough’s kick went wide, as the tension then began to ratchet up, with long stoppages to deal with knocks to the likes of Meadows and Roberts, the latter forced off permanently with a head injury after a collision in midfield.

Swinton then began to pile on some real attacking pressure, but Brown, Pickersgill and Jordan Lilley all came up with great defence to keep the hosts out.

And when Lilley smartly produced a drop goal out of his back pocket with 20 minutes to go to make the score 23-10, Bulls looked to have earned that breathing space they were craving.

But Swinton came back at Bulls, and Brown was forced to get a crucial hand to the ball to knock it away from Mike Butt in the in-goal area.

A fortunate knock-on against Swinton put Bulls in good field position, but sloppy passing and a poor kick through from Brough saw the chance wasted.

With Roberts and Louis Brogan off the field injured, Swinton were starting to resemble the walking wounded, but all of a sudden they found a second wind.

A lovely offload from Rizzelli down the right found Rhodri Lloyd, who flew over for a third Swinton try, which saw Brandon Pickersgill in bother in the aftermath.

He was taken off with nothing more than a bout of grogginess fortunately, but Bulls were soon left feeling further punch-drunk themselves.

After Ridyard converted Lloyd’s try, Swinton came straight back from kick-off, scythed through the middle to created a two-on-one situation, and Hansen sidestepped Foggin-Johnston to score.

Fortunately, Bulls were able to keep their opponents well away from the line in the final eight or nine minutes, with a huge hit from debutant Joe Burton the highlight.

It may not have been pretty, but Bulls got the job done, and you cannot say fairer than that.

SWINTON: Doyle 6, Butt 6, Cox 6, Rizzelli 8, Roberts 7, Ridyard 7, Hansen 7, Brogan 6, Waterworth 6, Luckley 6, Lloyd 7, Meadows 5, Hope 6. Interchange: Nash 6, Brickhill 6, Brooks 6, Spencer 6.

BULLS: Pickersgill 8, Brown 6, R. Evans 6, Oakes 6, Foggin-Johnston 6, Brough 7, Lilley 6, B. Evans 6, Doyle 7, Crossley 6, Gallagher 6, Murphy 6, Fleming 6. Interchange: Burton 7, Scurr 7, Rooks 6, Walker 6.

Bulls Man of the Match: Brandon Pickersgill.