Ripon 28 Bradford Salem 24

Bradford Salem’s dismal run of results at Ripon continued as they slipped to a shock defeat to the side lying second to bottom, whom they had crushed 58-0 at Shay Lane earlier in the season.

Having suffered last-min-ute defeats in their previous three visits to Mallorie Park, Salem knew it was a potential banana skin.

Although they took an early lead with a penalty from Danny Belcher, the hosts hit back with a converted try.

However, the visitors re-gained the lead when winger Omar Al-Rawi, making his first start for the club, offloaded to Belcher, who cut through for a fine try which he improved himself to put his side 10-7 up.

Salem were in the ascendancy as Al-Rawi was again involved in the build-up which resulted in a try for No 8 Damien Pearson, Belcher adding the extras.

Excellent handling in the backs created an overlap on the right for winger Connor Malarkey to dive over in the corner, Belcher landing the touchline conversion to give the visitors a 24-7 half-time lead.

However, Salem switched off in the second half and some schoolboy errors gifted Ripon possession.

After a period of prolonged pressure, the hosts were rew-arded when they drove over for a converted try. Buoyed by a vociferous crowd, Ripon scored two more converted scores in quick succession to take a 28-24 lead with nine minutes left.

Salem had a number of chances to snatch victory but lacked composure at crucial times. They still looked like they had sealed a last-gasp victory when Malarkey squeezed over in the corner, only for the final pass to be ruled as forward.

Salem still had one final chance to secure a win but were turned over in the tackle area and the opportunity was lost.

To rub salt in the wound, Salem missed the chance to go top after leaders Sheffield Medics lost to fellow promotion hopefuls Roundhegians.