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Almost but not quite – again for York City Knights
HEAD coach Gary Thornton labelled his York City Knights side a “nearly team” after they yet again lost a crucial game which could have gone either way.
Last night’s 22-18 defeat at Workington kept them adrift at the foot of the Kingstone Press Championship, needing two victories in their last two games, and results to go their way elsewhere, to stand a chance of surviving.
They go to Doncaster next Wednesday needing to end a losing away run in the league which was extended to 24 games last night.
“We’re a nearly team. We’re nearly getting over the line but not quite,” said Thornton.
“I thought we did enough to win the game. I’m really disappointed. We had a period in the second half where we’re shooting ourselves in the foot again. It’s really frustrating. We camp on their line but then put a silly play on, they get a fortunate bounce and off they go.
“Two of their (four) tries came when we were attacking.
“All that said, I’m proud of them to a man – they worked really hard.
“It’s not an easy place to come to, and if we had played like this more often this season we would not be in the position we are in.
“We need to be hurting but I’ve told the players they should be proud of some of the stuff they did. We were the better team.”
The Knights trailed 16-6 at half-time but struck back to lead 18-16 before being hit by a sucker-punch.
“In the first 20 minutes of the second half we were very good,” said Thornton.
“We changed things a bit but we then went away from what was working for us.
“Then we started losing the ball. We need this experienced player out there to stick to what works. We’re forcing the ball far too much instead of building pressure.”
The Knights saw Matt Nicholson and Ben Johnston limp off last night – so are praying they will be fit for Wednesday.
Added former Batley boss Thornton: “I’m proud of all their efforts.
“We need two wins now. Doncaster next Wednesday is a must-win and then we go into the last match against Batley, which could be interesting. But we will not throw the towel in, no way.”
Thornton, hit by injuries and unavailability, fielded youngsters Ben Dent and 18-year-old Greg Minikin on the right flank, both fresh out of the under-20s set-up.
Both did well, Dent particularly catching the eye at key times.
They also had another youngster, Ed Smith, inside them following his recall.
Said Thornton: “The young fellas in there were very good.
“They brought the average age down further but they were excellent.
“They need to be the future of this club whatever happens.”
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