Steely Knights secure stunning Sheffield win to go Second: - Betfred Championship
York City Knights’ incredible 2019 season continues as they produced one of the best performances of the year to defeat play-off rivals Sheffield Eagles at a sunny Olympic Legacy Park on Friday night.
It was the Knights’ 14th victory of the season, and for the next 24 hours at least moved them to second in the Betfred Championship.
Head Coach James Ford made four changes from the team that beat Dewsbury in the last minute at Bootham Crescent last week, with Jason Bass returning at full back in place of Matty Marsh, who pulled out of the initial 19 man squad with injury. Will Jubb was back in for Harry Carter at hooker, and Josh Jordan-Roberts replaced former Sheffield favourite Sam Scott in the back row. Prop Ronan Dixon was replaced on the bench by Jordan Baldwinson, who gave one of his best performances yet in the amber & black.
The first half hour was a tense arm-wrestle of a game in which Sheffield Eagles possibly just dominated, however both teams had a try ruled out. Ben Blackmore was first pulled back for a forward pass for Sheffield, before Bass ran behind a team mate on the way to the Knights try line.
York eventually drew first blood in the 31st minute when a similar attacking move successfully executed, Bass fine tuned his run in the attacking line and crossed out wide to the right. Connor Robinson expertly added the conversion from the touch line for a 0-6 lead.
It looked like the Knights would hold out the visitors in the first half, until a well worked move to the Eagles right edge saw Blackmore in acres of space to cross after the half time hooter sounded. Pat Walker kicked the touch line conversion and the teams headed back into the sheds all square at 6-6.
The Knights came flying out of the blocks after the break and two tries in five minutes extended the lead to 6-16, first on-loan centre Cam Scott continued his fine run of performances with a powerful finish down the left flank. Robinson hit the post with the conversion, then the impressive Marcus Stock took matters into his own hands and powered over from dummy-half to score on the last. Robinson this time successful with the conversion.
Sheffield continued their gameplan of running in hard and fast on the quick 4G surface, and reduced the Knights lead to 10-16 when former York half back Anthony Thackeray jinked his way over the line. Walker hitting the post with the conversion attempt.
The Eagles continued to put the Knights under all sorts of pressure with a number of repeat sets in dangerous territory, but Perry Whiteley was on hand to intercept a crucial pass and race 60 meters up field and out of danger. The ball was shipped out to the right edge a few plays later and Will Oakes found enough space to squeeze over and helpfully rounded under the posts to make the conversion attempt much easier. Robinson duly obliged and the Knights lead 10-22 in the 67th minute.
Sheffield hit back almost instantly when Bass dropped the restart, and Oliver Davies crossed to again reduce the deficit to 16-22.
York’s defence once again came to the fore as the Eagles desperately searched for an equaliser, but the first penalty of the second half allowed the Knights to clear their decks and from the resulting set, Connor Robinson stepped up to kick a crucial field goal with 90 seconds remaining, much to the delight of the large travelling support on the grassy hill behind the sticks.
The Knights now enjoy a 9 day turnaround before they turn their attentions to the trip to Batley Bulldogs on Sunday, 14th July (3pm) in another huge Betfred Championship match looking to keep this incredible play-off push on course. Travel on the York Pullman supporter’s bus to any UK away game in 2019 for just £15 Adults (£10 concessions) – to book your place contact the office on 01904 876527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP!
Knights 2020 season ticket renewals are on sale now, with prices frozen until July 31st as we prepare for our momentous move into the brand new York Community Stadium. For more information click HERE.
Sheffield: Guzdek, Millar, Ogden, Crookes, Blackmore, Walker, Thackeray, Knowles, Davey, Burns, Farrell, Davies, Brown. Subs (all used): Meadows, Broadbent, Mason, Esslemont.
Tries: Blackmore (40), Thackeray (54), Davies (68).
Goals: Walker (2/3).
Knights: Bass, Oakes, Hey, C Scott, Whiteley, Harris, Robinson, Teanby, Jubb, Horne, Jordan-Roberts, Salter, Spears. Subs (all used): Brining, Baldwinson, Blagbrough, Stock.
Tries: Bass (31), C Scott (42), Stock (47), Oakes (65).
Goals: Robinson (3/4).
Drop goal: Robinson (78).
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Marcus Stock
Attendance: 700 (est)