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Gary Thornton stays as York City Knights suffer relegation
GARY THORNTON’S job at York City Knights has been assured – despite their demotion from the Kingstone Press Championship.
Chairman John Guildford confirmed to The Press before last night’s 38-20 loss at Doncaster that the 51-year-old, who arrived as head coach at the end of last season, was staying next year – saying he had done a good job, regardless of their league position.
Defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium kept them four points adrift at the foot of the table, meaning the visit of Thornton’s former club Batley on Sunday on the last day of the regular season is now a dead rubber, his team already consigned to Championship One.
Said Guildford: “Gary has a two-year contract and I see no reason to change that. He has done a good job in what has been a tough, tight league and in a difficult year for the club.”
The Knights had led 14-0 midway through the first half last night and 20-12 at half-time before the wheels came off, Thornton bemoaning the side’s fragile confidence on the back of a ten-game losing streak which has seen them fall out of the play-off picture and into domestic rugby league’s third tier.
“We started terrifically well, the effort was there, but we’re not able to put an 80-minute performance together, and that has cost us again,” said Thornton, who normally watches games in a suit in the stands, but saw this one in his shorts in the technical area.
“We slipped up again and were poor in the second half, just not able to control the game.”
Thornton was particularly unimpressed by tries conceded, not least the first after half-time scored by former Knights winger Dennis Tuffour following a high kick which, bizarrely, was allowed to bounce by Tom Carr and Sam Latus.
“I don’t think we’re making teams work hard for their tries,” he said. “That kick should have been meat and drink for a full-back or winger but neither of them committed to it.
“We’re just gifting a lot of tries away and that was the story again last night.
“We were terrific in the first 20 – as good as we’ve played all season. But then it’s like somebody flicks a switch and we let them back into the game. It’s been the same story all season.
“As soon as they get their try, you can see the nerves and body language in the players turn. It’s a confidence thing.
“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We are where we are. We’ve been competitive a lot of time but haven’t been able to turn narrow defeats into wins.
“We have to live with that, learn from it, restructure and redevelop.”
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