BIRKENHEAD PARK let a commanding half-time lead slip as high-flying Cleckheaton turned on the style in the second half to maintain second position in North Division One.
Park produced a superb first-half performance to lead 25-7 at half time and they looked to be the promotion chasing side rather than the Yorkshire outfit.
Ian Kennedy kicked a penalty after only five minutes for Park. Winger Marc Harris then scored Park's first try, cutting in from the wing to score under the posts after 10 minutes with Kennedy converting.
Kennedy increased the home lead with a penalty after 25 minutes but Cleckheaton struck back with their only try of the half through veteran John Dudley after a driving maul, Alex Green converted.
The Cleckheaton try was the spur for some more fine play by the home backs and Kennedy kicked behind the defence for winger Andy Thomson to outpace the cover and score in the corner.
Park added to their lead in the last minute of the half when Martin Sutton and Stephen Ashcroft pressurised the Cleckheaton midfield and the loose ball popped up to Paul Kay who crossed for the third Park try with Kennedy converting.
It was, however, a false dawn for Park as it proved to be a proverbial game of two halves. There was little sign of the Cleckheaton comeback as Park went looking for a further score which probably would have finished the visitors' hopes of victory.
Cleckheaton absorbed the pressure and then broke out and at last they began to show their true form.
A try by flanker Hamilton after 50 minutes gave Cleckheaton hope and they visibly picked up the pace of their game.
Park continued to defend with spirit but they could not break out of defence as Cleckheaton turned the screw.
In the 68th minute centre Billington broke through for the next try and Green's conversion cut the home lead to four points.
Four minutes later Cleckheaton captured the lead for the first time when strong-running replacement Ackroyd raced over following a controversial quick line out.
With full time approaching Park were forced to chase the game but they could not recapture their first half form.
Park mistakes let scrum half Smith and John Bentley in for further tries with Green kicking all six conversions to give Cleckheaton a very flattering margin of victory.