“IT’S cruel this game sometimes.”

That was head coach Gary Thornton’s opinion after he saw his York City Knights side lose to Barrow after the final hooter for the second time this season.

The Knights led four times last night but the Raiders levelled on each occasion and won it 26-24 with a Kurt Haggerty penalty at the death.

The Knights also lost dual-reg Hull threequarter Jack Briscoe to a suspected broken leg, while it also emerged stand-off Simon Brown is to have a disciplinary hearing with the Rugby Football League charged with verbally abusing a touch judge in a previous game. He faces a ban of between three and eight games. The hearing is next Tuesday.

York had three tries ruled out by the video referee last night, while Haggerty’s penalty also drew boos from the crowd, awarded for offside by referee Chris Leatherbarrow as the Knights tried to close down a drop goal attempt.

Said a devastated Thornton: “It was a brave call by the referee. I don’t know whether it was offside. It’s a tough call in the dying seconds of the game.

“If the TV cameras weren’t here we would have won by about 18 points. They were close calls (to rule out three tries) if the referee doesn’t know whether to give it.

"On a normal day without the TV cameras he would probably have given two out of three of the tries and we would have won. Fair play to Barrow, they saw it through.”

The Raiders had arrived determined to answer their critics after their heavy loss to Featherstone and the result lifted them off the foot of the Kingstone Press Championship table, while dragging the Knights back into the relegation picture with nine games to go.

“I thought we let it go,” said Thornton, pictured. “We were strong in the first 20 and never looked in danger but we then did some silly things, took our foot off the gas and went away from the game plan.

“For some reason we went away from what was working for us. That gave Barrow hope and fair play to them they got their opportunity and took it.

“Losing Briscoe and James Ford, to a knee injury, hurt us. Barrow’s left edge of Liam Harrison and Max Wiper are always dangerous and, fair play to (Barrow boss) Darren Holt, he spotted we were weakened over there and got joy out there.

“Barrow never give in and we have to give them credit. We needed to get two scores away from them but never achieved that.”