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 on Saturday.

The win means Thatto close the gap to just three points, while 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 was not plain sailing for the home side, conceding the first points and struggling for any field position in the opening 20 minutes.

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.

Siddal, 6-0 up, had the opportunity to go all out and take a strong stance in the game.

Surprisingly they could not 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 half time.

The second half brought 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, enough to seal a massive win for their play-off hopes.

Thatto head to Egremont Rangers on Saturday.