“HOW long were those last five minutes?”

So asked a relieved Gary Thornton after his York City Knights side put him and the travelling faithful through the mill at Gateshead International Stadium before coming out with a 30-26 victory.

The result ended a run of two defeats, made up for the sorry loss to Oxford last Sunday and lifted the Knights back up to second in Championship One.

But, having seemingly had the game sewn up when Ed Smith scored four minutes after the break to make it 30-10, they almost saw the spoils snatched from them as hosts Gateshead Thunder, aided by the harsh sin-binning of Pat Smith, came back strongly.

“They’re a good team and they will turn over a few teams up here this season,” said Thornton.

“I’m pleased with the win, especially with the way we played last week. It was a case of if we can get a win by whatever means, then that was the most important thing.

“In the first half we were excellent. In the second half they threw everything at us.

“We’re still miles away from where we want to be but it was important we got a win and that was what we got. I didn’t care how we won as long as we got the three points.

“Gateshead have got some very good players – their three dual-reg Hull KR players were very good, and Jason Payne is always a threat. We had to dig deep and I think we showed some character.

“We could have folded when they got a roll on. We did it tough. We got Pat Smith sin-binned and we had to work hard for each other and knuckle down, and that’s what we did.”

The result made it four wins from five outings in the league as the Knights look to bounce straight back up to the Championship.

Thornton added: “One thing we have found out is there will be no easy games at this level.”