TOBY HUGHES really must have nerves of steel!

Hughes capped a stunning North Wales Crusaders’ fightback with a last minute drop goal to seal a thrilling 13-12 League 1 play-offs victory at Oldham.

For the second week in a row, Carl Forster’s Crusaders shut out their hosts in the second half and many will see this victory as an even sweeter one than the previous 26-10 success at Workington, with North Wales battling back after trailing by 12 points at the halfway stage.

Oldham took the lead on 10 minutes when ex-Crusader Pat Ah Van dived over for the opening try of the contest and it was duly converted by Martyn Ridyard.

Five minutes later and Oldham were celebrating once more.

Ridyard’s high kick was tipped out wide by Ah Van and Kian Morgan collected the ball for try number two. Ridyard again nailed the extras.

Crusaders needed a positive response once the second half got underway and they got one just two minutes after the restart.

Skipper Callum Hazzard crossed the whitewash for Crusaders’ first points of the contest and Leon Hayes nudged over the extras.

Oldham thought Jordan Paga had responded with a try, but there was nothing doing for the hosts following an obstruction decision, while Paga looked to cross the line 10 minutes into the second half, but he was held up by the Crusaders’ defence.

A high tackle saw the Crusaders awarded with a penalty and they were right back in the contest with their second score in the 52nd minute.

Matt Fletcher powered his way to the line to ground the ball and Hayes’ successful conversion made it 12-apiece.

Crusaders had the chance to get their noses in front for the first time with a dozen minutes remaining when they were awarded a penalty.

Hayes took it and his effort ended up just inches wide of the posts.

Adding to the drama was a pair of red cards with two minutes to go.

Crusaders’ Dave Gibbons and Oldham’s Zac Baker received their marching orders.

Then, with just a minute left, a drop goal by Hughes had the North Wales side ahead for the first time.

Ahead of the trip to Oldham, Crusaders’ player coach Forster said belief was increasing amongst the players that they could achieve something this season.

Asked if the belief of the players was increasing ahead of the Oldham clash, Forster told CruCast: “I think there is after the weekend.

“Obviously, we beat Doncaster a couple of weeks ago and I think that kind of set the platform for where we’re at.

“You know, we’ve got the likes of Toby Hughes and I think he’s transformed the way they’re playing if I’m going to be really honest.”