Knights topple Bulls to continue dream Championship start: Sunday 24th February - Betfred Championship
York City Knights continued their fine start to the 2019 Betfred Championship season by coming from behind to beat Bradford Bulls 14-24 at a sunny Odsal Stadium yesterday.
It was the Knights second consecutive league victory at Odsal, and their third victory from the opening four rounds to leave them in third place on the ladder after a thrilling opening month to the season.
Head Coach James Ford made two changes from the team that beat Barrow 56-0 last week: Brad Hay replaced Josh Jordan-Roberts in the back row who sat out with concussion, and Marcus Stock replaced Jack Blagbrough on the bench as the Knights opted for pace and agility over size.
It was York who drew first blood in the 8th minute – after an initial Joe Batchelor break, Connor Robinson’s cross-field kick was well taken by Jason Bass, who found his winger Ash Robson with a brilliant offload. Robinson missed the conversion from the right edge touchline, but added a penalty goal soon after for a 0-6 lead after 15 minutes – despite having winger Judah Mazive in the sin bin for needlessly kicking the ball away.
Robson then had to leave the game with a knee injury, which will be assessed by the Knights medical staff this week.
York extended their lead to 12 points with three minutes of the half remaining when Mazive reacted quickest to ground a neat Robinson grubber, but the late half drama wasn’t over – Bradford reclaimed the ball from a short kick off and got the ball to Ethan Ryan for one of his trademark acrobatic finishes on the left edge. Dane Chisholm missed the tricky conversion and the Knights headed into the sheds 4-12 up at the break.
The Bulls came out with renewed energy and started the second half on the front foot, and centre Jake Webster’s expert offload sent Ryan in for his second try after 46 minutes. Chisholm missed another touchline conversion, but the Bulls continued to charge and took the lead for the first time in the game in the 55th minute – Webster and Ryan again teaming up down the left edge to set full back Brandon Pickersgill up for a fine finish, Chisholm converting to give the Bulls a 14-12 lead as the hour mark approached.
These Knights are made of stern stuff and despite getting through a mountain of defensive work they refused to let their heads drop, and just needed one chance to regain the lead – a rare foray into Bradford territory saw prop Jack Teanby power over for a vital try under the posts in the 61st minute.
At 14-18 with time running out Bradford searched desperately for a winning score and had a Jy Hitchcox effort ruled out for a knock on over the line, before the Knights finally secured two vital league points with a 77th minute try from Matty Marsh, who was on hand to take in a brilliant offload from Graeme Horne to cross under the posts, much to the delight of the ecstatic travelling army of loud and proud Knights fans.
The Knights now turn their attentions to the visit of Leigh Centurions to Bootham Crescent this Sunday (3rd March) in what is shaping up to be a cracking match in round five of this exciting Championship season. All three stands will be open for this huge game, so get your tickets online now from Eventbrite HERE!
Bradford: Pickersgill, Hitchcox, Evans, Webster, Ryan, Lilley, Chisholm, Kirk, Wildie, Crossley, Garside, Minchella, Hallas. Subs (all used): Flanagan, Krasniqi, Farrell, Storton.
Tries: Ryan (39, 46), Pickersgill (55).
Goals: Chisholm (1/3)
Knights: Marsh, Robson, Bass, Salter, Mazive, Cockayne, Robinson, Dixon, Brining, Horne, Batchelor, Hey, Petersen. Subs (all used): Carter, Stock, Teanby, Porter.
Tries: Robson (8), Mazive (36), Teanby (61), Marsh (77).
Goals: Robinson (4/6)
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Liam Salter