RUGBY LEAGUE: Birmingham Bulldogs travelled to reigning Midlands Premier Champions Northampton on the back of a 58-0 defeat by league leaders Coventry Dragons last week.
But they produced a much-improved performance and included four players making their full debuts.
With ten minutes gone the Demons went over in the right-hand corner for an unconverted try and two minutes later the hosts scored a second try which was converted to make the score 10-0.
It looked ominous for Bulldogs, but they fought back in style, keeping their opponents out for the reminder of the half while mounting some good attacks themselves, with one run from Stephenson seeing him just forced into touch.
Northampton took a grip early in the second half and posted three converted tries over a 16-minute spell.
But, showing great resilience, Birmingham came back with a try as good as any in the match.
Stephenson made a break in his own half and just as he was being tackled he a managed to offload to winger Chev Walker whose storming run took him clear of the home defence for a try under the posts that was converted by centre Danny Bancroft.
Brum, however, failed to gather the restart, which gave Demons an attacking position from which they crossed for another converted try.
Back came Bulldogs with debutant winger Liam Lindsey finishing a move by going over in the right corner for a try.
But the last word went to Northampton with a late unconverted try which left the losing margin harsh on Brum, who made Demons work hard for their win.
This Saturday, Bulldogs are at home to Nottingham Outlaws ‘A’ (kick off 2.30pm).