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Frustration endgame hits Knights coach Gary Thornton
GARY THORNTON admitted he would have taken a point had it been offered while he was figuring out what team he could field against unbeaten Halifax – but he ended up being frustrated his York City Knights side didn’t snare all three.
The injury-hit Knights stormed 14-0 up after only 15 minutes against the wannabe champions only to then switch off three times to concede three tries in 13 minutes and trail 18-14 by the break, two conversions proving the difference on the scoreboard.
There were no more scores in a second-half stalemate, leaving the Knights with a bonus point for their gutsy efforts but wondering what might have been, especially after seeing Jonny Presley have a try ruled out for the second time in two games, while it was 14-6.
Said head coach Thornton: “It was a good performance and I’m proud of the players. But I’m disappointed we didn’t get all three points.
“We were good value for it, we worked really well and it was a great reaction after last week’s disappointment (a 42-4 defeat) at Batley.
“Considering where we were on Thursday when I didn’t know what 17 we would put out - I thought we deserved to win the game.
“For most of the first half our completion rate was very high. For about 25 minutes we were excellent, we stuck to the game plan and it worked to perfection, and, on the back of Simon Brown’s excellent kicking game, it was a great start. We deserved that 14-0 lead.
“It was three lapses in concentration that cost us, we switched off three times.
“When we allowed (Paul Handforth) to go from dummy-half – that was a really soft try to give away. We just switched off.”
Unbeaten Halifax had been big favourites, more so after Jason Golden, York skipper in injured James Ford’s stead, failed a fitness test and joined the others on the Huntington Stadium treatment table.
Asked whether he would have accepted a point beforehand, Thornton said: “I guess I would have taken it. I’m not a huge fan of bonus points.
“On Thursday when I was not sure what 17 would take the field, to say we’ve got a bonus point from the team at the top – I probably would have taken it.
“However, with the way the game unfolded, I’m disappointed we didn’t get all three.”
As for the second-half stalemate, which Fax probably shaded, only to be repelled by a tough home effort, Thornton said: “Both defences were pretty solid and we defended our try-line really well. That’s something I’m keen to work on. We’ve got to be mean on our own goal-line.
“I just thought we should have capitalised when we got some good ball near the end. I thought we should have come away with something in the second half.
“But Halifax are top of the table and are there for a reason – they’re a very good team and tough to break down.”