A stoppage time try and conversion cost Huddersfield only their third League defeat of the season at Westoe on Saturday.

Not that the result mattered in the greater scheme of things, as Huddersfield, who fielded a re-arranged pack, have already guaranteed their place in the promotion play-offs, and the one-point reversal was nothing more than a slight blemish on what has been a wonderful season for the Lockwood Park side.

It was clear that victory meant more to third-placed Westoe than defeat meant to the visitors, who at least came out of the brutal clash with no worrying injuries, and have much bigger fish to fry in two weeks time.

Director of rugby, captain and No8 Mark Sowerby watched from the sidelines, having only just returned from Russia hours earlier, while giant second row Gavin Rhodes was rested and prop Tony Stringwell also took a spell on the bench, with Jack McPhail having his first full run-out for several weeks.

That meant a starting place for Academy player Tom Sharrock at flanker with Nick Sharpe moving into the back row and George Hinchliffe joining Hamish Pratt in the second row, while regular centre James Mortimore only came on for a spell in the second half to replace Ben Paxman.

Playing up the slope in the first half, stand-off Chris Johnson gave his side a fifth-minute lead with a penalty, only for his opposite number Sam Rasch to level it up with a drop goal on nine minutes.

The rest of the half was spent with Huddersfield having to fend off cheap shots from Westoe’s overly-aggressive players, who repeatedly made hits after the ball had gone, while head-high tackles seemed to be the norm rather than the exception.

In fact after the second successive lunge at Johnson, his Kiwi counterpart Rasch found himself in the sin-bin either side of half time.

The Huddersfield No10 carried on his ‘love-affair’ with the woodwork when another penalty struck an upright and bounced to safety (he had hit the crossbar twice at Sheffield from inside his own half), but did put his side in front at the break when he dropped a goal in the final minute of the half.

Westoe’s tricky fly half Rasch returned to the field, but the home side were soon back down to 14 men again when centre David Haswell was the next to receive a yellow card, and Johnson extended Field’s lead to 9-3 with a second penalty, awarded for yet another head-high tackle!

The Tynesiders, however, were certainly up for this game (no-doubt fuelled by missing out on a promotion spot) and they began to drive strongly upfield through their big set of forwards.

For almost 20 minutes they were camped on Huddersfield’s line and three times actually crossed the whitewash, only to either be held up or thrown back as the visitors light-weight pack produced a monumental defensive effort.

Westoe’s left wing Paul Alexander almost created the winning try when he cut through Huddersfield’s defence on the right, but the pass to his wingman went straight into touch.

Mortimore was next to spend 10 minutes off the field as Huddersfield were reduced to 14, but when young hooker James Davies crucially won a scrum against the head with just four minutes left on the clock, it looked like the Westoe assault had finally been repelled.

Johnson hoofed the ball downfield and the pressure appeared to be over.

Unfortunately, referee Steve Lee awarded the home side a penalty which they quickly worked back up field through Rasch, and after drawing the centre, he released flanker James Fiztpatrick who left winger Alex Shaw floored in the mud to cross 10 yards in from the sidelines.

And that left kicker Rasch with the conversion attempt to seal the game for Westoe – which he never looked like missing.

It was a disappointing end, but not one that Huddersfield will be dwelling on!

Huddersfield: McLaren, Shaw, Paxman (B) (Mortimore 60), Paxman (L), Collins; Johnson, Clayton; Howard, Davies, McPhail, Hinchliff, Pratt, Sharrock, Whitehead, Sharpe.

Westoe: Haswell (G), Alexander, Saaiman, Haswell (D), Olugbode, Rasch, Lithgo, Nesbitt, Douglas, Elliott, Bird, Muchall, Fitzpatrick, Okwe-Pearson, Smith.

Referee: Steve Lee.