It’s been a busy week for York City Knights. Having choked at the death in last weekend’s iPro Sport Cup final, they got back on the horse with a midweek 32-14 win over a heavily depleted Coventry Bears.
In Blackpool York had been a distant second best for an hour, but somehow found themnselves with an 18-16 lead with five minutes remaining when Ed Smith acrobatically snatched a cross-field kick from the air to touch-down.
But with 90 seconds left, the Knights defence switched-off to a Paul Handforth dink into the in-goal and Charlie Martin took advantage to take the silverware back to Cougar Park.
Early doors, York looked dangerous up the edges, with full-back Ben Dent coming into the line up the right channel to make the extra man, but good line-speed pressure from the Keighley defence forced repeated errors. Coach James Ford identified errors as a key factor in the defeat: "… too many errors put us under pressure. It takes a good team to concede that many errors and defend so much, yet come close to winning a game. Maybe our naivety cost us a little bit."
Certainly the York threequarter line carries some real threat, particularly via the partnership of Smith and Buchanan. Indeed, Smith weighed in with a hat-trick in the victory over Coventry.
And this week, the Knights have bolstered their workmanlike pack with the addition of former Halifax back-rower Ross Divorty, who links back up with on-loan Halifax outside back Tommy Saxton.
Speaking after the midweek game, York coach James Ford recognised the impact of playing twice in five days. Speaking in the York Press he said: “We weren’t as crisp as we normally would’ve been and we had a few decisions go against us. Coventry also played well – they had territory gifted to them but they asked us questions… we counted 12 poor calls against us in the first half to create pressure and we conceded ten points.”
We think it’d be fair to say that Ford is a bit out of love with the officials at the moment. Again in the York Press, he said: “In the last two games, at Blackpool and here, we’ve had the worst two referees in the competition… I can take it when a referee gets the odd decision wrong. We speak to the assessors and they try to educate you on how referees see things. I get that. But that (by Tom Crashley) was an absolutely disgraceful performance.”
“It didn’t affect the outcome. But how momentum was taken away from us and pressure created on us, I’m not having it that that’s the best performance he can serve up. I don’t think he’s got anything against the club or anything like that. He’s just put in a really poor performance.”
“Normally we’d tell the players to take the referee out of the equation. But the stuff he was giving – it was horrendous.”
Wow - good job they won!
Interestingly, just over a year ago when York bombed out of the iPro Sport Cup to a late, late Newcastle flurry, Ford refused to blame Crashley for York being on the wrong-end of a 14-8 penalty count. Speaking then, he said: "It's not for me to comment on the officials' performances…”
For Hornets, Sunday heralds the first game in our annual on-the-road odyssey that drags us the length of the country over three weeks. And it’s these games that will define this first ‘module’ of our season before the Super-eights kick-in.
As always, all we can do is implore everyone who can make it to York to get over and get behind the lads. See you there.