All square at the KC
Castleford Tigers ran in three tries in the last 13 minutes to snatch an unlikely 18-18 draw against a rejuvenated Hull FC in a dramatic First Utility Super League match at the KC Stadium.
The home side looked to have secured a first win in six matches to rekindle their outside play-off hopes when they led 18-4 for most of the second half, but Hull-bound stand-off Marc Sneyd sparked a remarkable fightback with one try before right winger James Clare touched down twice in the last seven minutes.
Sneyd, who is joining Hull on a three-year deal at the end of the season, could have won it for the Tigers but he missed the target with three of his four conversion attempts on a rare off-night.
Hull may feel aggrieved after losing both half-backs Jordan Rankin and Jordan Abdull to injury but there was much to encourage coach Lee Radford, who had labelled his side an "embarrassment" after their 56-10 hammering by Wigan Warriors a week ago.
They were lifted by the return of skipper Gareth Ellis and a man-of-the-match display by loose forward Joe Westerman while 18-year-old Abdull capped an accomplished performance with his first try for the club.
Radford's men were a rejuvenated side from the kick-off and an early knock-on from Castleford full-back Luke Dorn gave them the opportunity to set up camp in the visitors half.
Rankin lost the ball trying to ground it over the line, Ellis was brought down just short and winger Tom Lineham went close to touching down Westerman's kick on a free play as the Airlie Birds enjoyed all the early momentum.
The pressure finally told on 14 minutes when hooker Danny Houghton made the running for centre Kirk Yeaman to create an overlap for winger Fetuli Talanoa to score the first try.
On one of the few occasions, the Tigers managed to break free of the shackles, Sneyd whetted the appetite of the home fans ahead of his pending move to the KC Stadium with a superb break that set up a 15th try of the season for centre Michael Shenton.
The normally reliable Sneyd missed the conversion attempt and Hull increased their lead through the impressive Abdull on 29 minutes.
The youngster had earlier made a clean break which came to nothing, but he produced a clinical finish to register his first try for the club, jinking past two flat-footed defenders, and Rankin's second goal made it 12-4.
Hull were forced to scramble after a wonderful flowing move featuring ball-handling forwards Grant Millington and Weller Hauraki almost fashioned a try for hooker Daryl Clark but Castleford were relieved to find themselves trailing by only eight points at the break.
Their task began to look impossible when Castleford winger Kirk Dixon lost the ball just outside his own 20-metre area within two minutes of the re-start and Hull immediately took advantage of the perfect attacking position, with Abdull getting Yeaman crashing over for their third try.
Rankin kicked a third goal but hobbled off six minutes into the second half and Hull lost some of their momentum in the resulting re-shuffle.
As Castleford rallied, forward Oliver Holmes got to the line after a determined run only to lose his grip on the ball as he attempted to touch down, but the visitors gave themselves hope with two tries in seven minutes.
Shenton carved out a score for Sneyd with a trademark slicing run on 67 minutes and his goal cut the gap back to eight points.
There were only four points in it on 73 minutes when Hull failed to clear the danger caused by Sneyd's grubber kick and Clare picked up the loose ball to sprint 30 metres for his first try.
As the Tigers pressed for the winning try, Abdull was carried off on a stretcher with a head injury following a collision with Hauraki, who was put on report by referee James Child.
Hull fans bayed for a penalty but Castleford took advantage of excellent field position as Clare collected Sneyd's clever kick to the corner for his second try.