Bradford Bulls 27 Featherstone Rovers 26 (on extra-time golden point)

THERE is just something about the chemistry between these two sides, drama always seems to unfold.

History repeated itself in Bulls' favour in unbelievable fashion, just as it had two months before.

This time it was a golden point strike from the golden boot of Jordan Lilley, as Bulls did enough to secure their place in the Coral Challenge Cup last-16. But only just.

On that mud bath February opening day of the Championship season, a Dane Chisholm drop-goal 11 minutes from time was enough to seal a 17-16 victory for his side over Featherstone Rovers.

There was even more late drama this time out, on a cloudier and, only slightly warmer, April afternoon at Odsal. Here, John Kear’s men took their place in the sixth-round draw among the English game’s big boys.

This time Chisholm could not be afforded hero status as he was given the weekend off to attend a wedding.

The Bulls' headline grabber on this occasion was Lilley, who struck an unbelievable drop goal 40 metres out on the hooter of the first period of extra time.

But it was his team-mate, Elliot Minchella, who deserves most credit for even taking it to that stage, as his conversion from 30 metres out on the touchline at the death of normal time set up the extra spell of action to make it 26-26. This was the epitome of a pressure kick. What guts he showed in seeing it sail over.

Stand-in kicker Minchella is red hot with his boot right now as his side made it four successive league and cup victories ahead of their Easter double header.

Late tries from Dalton Grant, Lilley and David Foggin-Johnston saw Bulls storm from 18 points down to force overtime.

But the grandstand finish, with the three Bulls tries coming in the last nine minutes of normal time, however entertaining, cannot be allowed to paper over the cracks.

Yes, they were 26-8 down with nine minutes left and forced the added time, but that was the score for a reason. Bulls put in an often disjointed performance and were second best for most of the match.

Featherstone were fully in control and never looked like ending up losing any further points, let alone losing the tie.

Rovers were in control with two tries in three second-half minutes as both James Harrison on 62 minutes and Jack Render three minutes later further cemented the visitors' grasp on a sixth round place. Or so it seemed.

At this stage, Bulls were flat and their supporters were equally as subdued. A comeback never looked like being on the cards. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions.

But in sport sometimes, heart and resolve can make up for a bad day at the office. This was one of those occasions.

There was a welcome sight for Bulls fans as favourite Ross Peltier made his long-awaited return after six months out. He managed 43 minutes after starting on the bench and was in the thick of the action.

His last outing had been Bulls’ Betfred League One play-off final win over Workington Town. The forward was back after suffering a shoulder injury in pre-season training.

Peltier certainly knows how to be present for his side’s big games.

Pre-match, Peltier wanted a big side at Odsal in the next round of the cup. He may yet get his wish granted in tonight’s draw.

But back to yesterday’s fifth-round clash, as Rovers returned looking for revenge for their opening day defeat.

It was a fairly even first half, which the Colliers just managed to edge 14-6.

Jack Broadbent opened the scoring for Featherstone on three minutes, before Irish international Ethan Ryan 10 minutes later saw Bulls restore parity.

Both sides then traded penalty kicks, converted by the impressive Boas for Rovers and Minchella for Bulls.

But Rovers would have the last laugh of the opening period, via a Josh Hardcastle try on the stroke of half-time. It looked like being a similar tight contest to their league encounter, but no-one could have predicted just how tight it would be.

The hosts started the second half well, pegging Rovers back into their own defensive 20-metre area, but never looking like scoring.

This pressure came to nothing as Boas' penalty kick gave his side a 16-8 lead and maybe enough daylight to book their last-16 place. This 44th-minute strike led to a deflated atmosphere among the Bulls fans, as they maybe sensed this tie was slipping away.

Peltier took the bull by the horns to awaken the supporters, as he made a couple of good runs which were only just denied a try.

Things went from bad to worse at this stage for Bulls as George Flanagan went off with a broken thumb on 54 minutes, replaced by Matty Wildie.

Then came those two Rovers tries, only one converted and the doom and gloom in the stands matched the grey skies above.

Faint hope or merely a consolation arrived on 71 minutes as Grant went over in the right-hand corner, which was converted to make it 26-14.

That hope was magnified with four minutes left as Lilley collected a Rowan Milnes kick to touch down under the posts. This was converted by that man Minchella for 26-20.

The grandstand finish, and remarkable comeback, was almost complete when the pacy Foggin-Johnston scored a try. Then came that astonishing conversion by Minchella and we went to extra time.

Jack Bussey made a couple of failed drop goal attempts for Rovers before Lilley took centre stage. The rest, as they say, is history.

Kear was sporting enough to say post-match that Featherstone were the better team. But that doesn't matter a jot. Bulls never gave up and booked their place in the next round. A fortunate win, just as it had been against Keighley Cougars in the previous round.

A couple of Bulls fans singing about a Wembley final after this cup classic may have been a bit premature. But if cup-winning sides always encounter a bit of luck on the road to silverware, then maybe, just maybe, Bulls could pull off the ultimate upset.