Knights fall to late defeat against Featherstone: Sunday 9th May - Betfred Championship
York City Knights (12) 12-16 (6) Featherstone Rovers
The Knights fell to an agonising late defeat on Sunday night as Craig Hall’s 77th minute try gave Featherstone Rovers the two points, extending their unbeaten start to the season.
At the LNER Community Stadium, it was James Ford’s York who started well and opened the scoring with Warrington loanee Riley Dean at the heart of it. In a team selection that saw captain Chris Clarkson named at hooker, it was Dean doing much of the scheming from dummy-half but it was some great quick feet that led to the opening score. Alert for Jordan Baldwinson’s offload, Dean scampered through a gap before passing to the supporting Matty Marsh, the half-back going over for his seventh try in three games in the sixth minute.
Kieran Dixon converted but the Knights, despite having the better of the opening stages, saw Featherstone hit back shortly after through right winger Gareth Gale. Working the ball to the short side, Gale shrugged off a group of Knights defenders to score in the corner. Nu Brown was unable to kick the touchline conversion.
In a largely error-free opening half, the teams then went set for set with neither able to stamp their authority on the game. The Knights, though, would be next to score – shortly after Rovers saw John Davies sin-binned for a dangerous third man tackle. Working the ball to our right, centre Liam Salter crashed over from close range to score for the second consecutive home game. Dixon again converted to make the score 12-4.
Featherstone then, somehow, went on to fluff what was one of the few clear openings of the match. Craig Hall, streaking clear after rounding full-back Dixon, was somehow chased down by Kirmond and then, after passing inside, Luke Cooper proceeded to knock on when literally on the try line.
The visitors would narrow the Knights’ lead minutes later, though, with Brown kicking a penalty from close range with York penalised for offside.
With a six-point deficit to chase, Featherstone started the second half the strongest and forced an immediate repeat set with Chisholm’s kick forcing returning winger Jason Bass – on his 100th career appearance – in goal. The visitors dominated territory in the early stages with big defensive efforts stopping Featherstone short a handful of times.
James Green would go close after the Knights weathered that particular storm, the prop being held up over the line by a group of Rovers defenders. But then, it would be Featherstone who narrowed the scores further.
Almost a carbon copy of his earlier score, Gale made his way to the line from around thirty yards out on the right flank, fending off three Knights tackles to get in at the corner. Brown would again miss his conversion attempt, but he would go on to level the scores with fifteen minutes left, kicking a penalty from in front of the sticks.
Each team made their share of mistakes as they looked to win the game for their team, errors stopping either team getting really close to scoring. The Knights, though, would get into positions to attempt drop goals. The first one looked like Dean was set to go for the one pointer, but he looked to dance past the oncoming defenders and the play would fall apart. Minutes later, his effort faded to the right of the sticks.
Then, with three minutes left, heartbreak for York. Dean’s attempt was charged down by Chisholm and, when Featherstone got a favourable bounce, Hall would claim it and score the four-pointer for the visitors. Brown would again miss with the boot but, after seeing Rovers take the lead for the first time in the match, the Knights simply couldn’t hit back and fell to their third defeat of the season.
Knights: Kieran Dixon, Ben Jones-Bishop, Liam Salter, Ryan Atkins, Jason Bass, Matty Marsh, Riley Dean, Ronan Dixon, Chris Clarkson, Jordan Baldwinson, Danny Kirmond, Sam Scott, Tim Spears.
Interchanges: Will Jubb, Marcus Stock, James Green, Joe Porter.
Tries: Matty Marsh (6), Liam Salter (30)
Goals: Kieran Dixon (2/2)
Featherstone: Dane Chisholm, Gareth Gale, Josh Hardcastle, Craig Hall, Tom Holmes, Nu Brown, James Lockwood, Connor Jones, Craig Kopczak, Junior Moors, Brad Day, Jack Bussey.
Interchanges: John Davies, Luke Cooper, Frankie Halton, Dean Parata.
Tries: Gareth Gale (13, 58), Craig Hall (77)
Goals: Nu Brown (2/5)
Image courtesy of Town Pix/Matt Kirkham