IF games continue in this vein, we’re in for a belting season in Betfred League One.

In their opening fixture, York City Knights lost a cracker against big guns Bradford to a penalty after the final hooter.

The difference in game two against another set of title rivals was the width of a post, York this time prevailing 24-22 at Oldham, ultimately courtesy of Connor Robinson’s four conversions to Paul Crook’s three – the only miss rebounding out off an upright.

That the Knights this time got over the winning line, after another intense clash, should not be underestimated.

They had taken the lead three times, only for their opponents to keep hitting back - and then be handed a late penalty, not unlike Bradford, with which to steal the spoils.

It was too far out to go for goal but the kick for touch put the pressure on. This time, though, James Ford’s men held out, their efforts overall being epitomised at that point.

Home hooker Kenny Hughes made a dash for the line – but was halted inches short. Then half-back David Hewitt went for the line on the last – but likewise was denied by desperate defending. In the mess left behind, three Knights players lay prone on the floor needing treatment having put their bodies on the line.

This game, like the one against Bradford, was of Championship quality.

Both the Bulls and the Roughyeds were in that tier last season, of course, and both want to get straight back.

But the Knights have shown in these two fixtures – particularly by prevailing in this one – that they will have a say in that come the final reckoning.

Oldham, hitherto yet to concede a point this season, are adept at this level at overrunning opponents and playing on the front foot. But York took them on at their own game on their own patch and came out on top.

Indeed, Ford had bolstered his pack with on-loan Colton Roche and dual-reg prop James Donaldson surely with that in mind, and they helped York to give as good as they got in the forward battle.

The impact when Roche crashed into big Phil Joy - as brilliantly photographed by Gordon Clayton - could have been heard on Saddleworth Moor. Roche came out the other side with a cut to his forehead. Joy had trouble rediscovering his feet.

Ford also had Matty Marsh back on dual-reg – and he became the first player to score against the Roughyeds this term, 11 minutes into their third game.

Chris Siddons broke through in centre-field and gave the scrum-half a simple finish.

Both teams' hard running and defensive strengths had already been to the fore as they fought for territory and the upper hand. A tough, even contest was to continue throughout.

York had the chance to increase their lead after a penalty gave them another attacking set but Tim Spears could not take Andy Ellis’ pass near to the sticks.

Then it was Oldham’s turn to attack, on the back of two consecutive penalties.

Winger Ben West eyed the corner but Marsh came across marvellously to tackle him into touch by the flag.

They did equalise, though, on the back of three consecutive penalties – with the platform of a fourth successive set, centre Matt Reid scoring.

Were Oldham getting the upper hand? No, York re-took the lead three minutes before half-time with a move straight off the training ground.

Short passes on the narrow side saw Graeme Horne send former Hull KR team-mate Ben Cockayne through a small gap near half-way and he gave the scoring pass to on-loan Rovers full-back Kieren Moss.

If that try was made on Humberside, Oldham’s next equaliser, three minutes into the second half, was made in St Helens

York had needed a solid start to the second half but, instead, Cockayne dropped the kick-off, referee Marcus Griffiths giving the hosts an immediate attacking scrum even though the ball clearly went backwards.

They forced a dropout with a kick at the end of the first set, then scored from one in the second – Danny Langtree on the end of fellow ex-Saints youngster Hewitt’s lovely ball.

York took the lead for the third time after 52 minutes with another try made on Humberside.

On the back of a penalty, former Hull KR hooker Will Jubb sent Donaldson blasting home on a sharp line.

However, lightning struck twice as Cockayne dropped the restart in the same fashion as before, the referee again awarding a scrum, and Oldham benefitting.

With York appearing a man short on the right, Hewitt’s delayed pass saw Cockayne shoot out of the line and get caught in no-man’s land as Reid got his second try.

Crook’s conversion – crucially – hit an upright, and York soon went two scores ahead for the first time.

Donaldson appeared to be accidentally tripped but everyone eventually played on. Connor Robinson’s little grubber then saw Joe Batchelor – just as he had done against Bradford – scoop up a ridiculous ball around his ankles at pace to get over.

Oldham again hit back. This time Cockayne did catch the restart but, soon enough, the Roughyeds’ best move of the match down his wing ended with West scoring, to cut the gap to 24-22.

York came within inches of scoring again after a rare handling error by the excellent Langtree, but Siddons fumbled under pressure at the try-line from a crash ball.

It was still anybody’s game as the clock ticked down, Oldham trying to pin York back.

One excellent defensive effort forced the hosts out of bounds but a high tackle gave them that late attacking platform with which to potentially win the game.

The Knights put their bodies on the line to keep them out.

Then in the last minute, Crook booted up a high ball and tall second-row Danny Bridge leapt highest underneath it. However, a challenge by Cockayne was enough to put him off to earn the winger redemption for his earlier errors.