FOR the third successive home game this season, Bradford Salem finished up on the wrong end of a tight game despite leading at half-time, going down 22-14 in their relegation battle at home to Goole.

In wet and windy conditions for this North One East clash at Shay Lane, two tries from young prop forward Xander McConville gave Salem a 14-0 lead but, unfortunately, they allowed fellow strugglers Goole back into the game in the second half.

Goole, who had had a morale-boosting first win over Beverley in their previous league outing, dominated the opening exchanges and only excellent defending by the hosts prevented them from scoring.

Having withstood the early pressure, Salem got more and more into the game and the deadlock was broken after 27 minutes.

Skipper Jake Green broke through before sending the supporting McConville galloping over for a fine try, Green added the extras to put the hosts 7-0 in front.

Then, 10 minutes later, a delicate chip from scrum half Callum Smith bounced kindly for Salem and McConville was again on hand to score his second try, which Green improved to increase the lead to 14-0.

The turning point in the game came early in the second half when Salem, despite playing into the elements, were camped on the opposing line.

A score at that time would surely have put the game to bed, but a lack of patience led to a knock-on, enabling Goole to relieve the pressure.

The visitors were clearly lifted by this reprieve and they were soon attacking deep in opposition territory.

Salem did well to win a scrum on their own five-metre line but a mistake at the base allowed Goole to turn over possession and their outstanding flanker William Townend broke through several tackles before stretching out to score.

Fly-half Rhys Moore missed the relatively easy conversion, but, minutes later, he made amends with a successful penalty to reduce the arrears to 14-8.

From this point on, Goole never looked back and they controlled the game as Salem started to drop off.

With 25 minutes of the second half gone, the pressure began to tell, and the visitors forced their way over the line for a converted try to open up a slender 15-14 lead.

Goole added to their tally straight from the restart as some great handling in the backs created a break down the middle, allowing them to race away and score a try under the posts.

Moore added the simple conversion to hand the visitors a 22-14 advantage.

Salem tried desperately hard to get something out of the game in the closing stages, but Goole's defensive line held firm as they closed out a hard-earned victory.