Whitehaven extended their lead at the top of League One with a pulsating victory over their nearest rivals at the start of play.

Haven were 6-0 down at half-time, trailed 10-8 going into the last quarter but found the spirit and desire to snatch a deserved win.

Full-back Jordan Burns was the eventual hero with a fine individual try seven minutes from time. But it was also his sound handling under some vicious bombs, and penetrating runs returning the ball which won him the award.

Not that this was a one-man show by Haven. It certainly wasn’t as everybody had a part to play in what was a fine response to the dramatic home defeat two weeks ago.

The fact that Haven broke through the magic 1,000 barrier with the crowd was another bonus.

The first penalty of the game went Oldham’s way early in their first set and they were able to build a good attacking position.

But Whitehaven defended well and when Burns caught the bomb on the final tackle they were able to clear their lines.

Both sides looked solid in defence in the early stages and the tackling was always keen and effective.

Callum Phillips’ kick on last tackle caused problems and a drop-out from under the sticks resulted.

Whitehaven had a chance to take the lead on 10 minutes but Conor Holliday struck a 20-metre penalty wide of the target.

At the other end Dave Thompson had to take a difficult bomb and went down to ground before pouching it.

Oldham took the lead on 13 minutes when a kick on final tackle by Adam Brook bounced awkwardly above the last home defender and Scott Law was there to collect and dive over. Dave Hewitt converted.

Haven’s first changes of the game saw Dion Aiye and Carl Forster replace Tom Wilkinson and Kris Coward just after the 20-minute mark.

As predicted it had been a tight, evenly contested game with defences on top as both sides found it hard to create clear cut chances.

Haven made their second double change just a few minutes before the break when Ethan Kelly and James Newton replaced Marc Shackley and Sam Dowsett.

Haven were almost in when the returning Ellis Gillam went for the line on last tackle and was held just short.

Right on the hooter Whitehaven were on the Oldham line and the final kick from Sam Forrester just evaded desperate attempts to get on the end of it from players on both sides.

Whitehaven made a brilliant start to the second half, scoring from their first attack. Forrester hoisted a huge kick which, not for the first time, the Oldham defence allowed to bounce and it was taken by Chris Taylor.

With Dave Thompson steaming up on his right he gave him the ball and he had a walk in. Holliday landed the touchline conversion to level the score.

There was nearly a repeat minutes later when Phillips’ bomb was allowed to bounce and the visitors were lucky to get away with it.

Whitehaven came again and a penalty presented Holliday with the chance to boot Haven ahead and this time he made no mistake.

Haven were showing a lot of fire now, forcing Oldham into errors, and tackling really hard.

When Oldham threatened on the last tackle, Burns gathered and made a fine 40-yard break to put his side on the attack.

Then Hewitt almost got through for Oldham as this pulsating contest continued to excite from end to end.

Oldham had the chance to level up from a penalty but spurned the kick and went for the try – which they were rewarded with on 61 minutes.

Brook and Danny Langtree both kept the move alive with clever passes out the back door and centre Zack McComb dived in for the try. Hewitt missed the conversion.

Haven came back and Oldham were in trouble from another Phillips bomb. Gillam managed to get his hands on it but then lost out under pressure.

Ten minutes from the end, Whitehaven had an opportunity to pull level when James Newton was head tackled. But Burns, taking over from Holliday who was off the field, missed it.

But Burns more than made-up for it by scoring a fine individual try seven minutes from time. He had to weave his way through from 20 metre but somehow evaded the tackles to dive over by the posts. This time he was on target.

Four minutes from the end Burns was called into action again and from 20 metres put over a penalty for a six point cushion.

A minute later he took on another shot but this time from over 40 metres, after Kris Coward had been stopped by a head tackle, he was wide.

The hooter went with Oldham about to take a penalty and Burns, who had been named Man of the Match, caught it and jumped into touch celebrating a fine win.

Match Facts

Whitehaven: Burns, Bulman, Mossop, Taylor, Thompson, Forrester, C. Phillips, Shackley, Dowsett, Coward, Gillam, Holliday, Wilkinson. Subs: Aiye, Forster, Kelly, Newton.

Tries: Thompson, Burns.

Goals: Holliday (2), Burns (2)

Oldham: Hawkyard, Aaronson, McComb, Leeming, Holmes, Brook, Hewitt, Joy, Owen, Law, Bridge, Langtree, Bent. Subs: Spencer, Whittel, Wilkinson, Greenwood.

Tries: Law, McComb

Goals: Hewitt

Referee: Tom Crashley

Half-time: 0-6

Penalties: 9-5

Crowd: 1,101

Star Man: Jordan Burns