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York City Knights' Ben Johnson dazzles in defeat
11:10am Friday 11th May 2012 in Knights RL
DUAL-REGISTRATION signing Ben Johnson provided a much-needed spark for York City Knights last night but it was not enough to prevent a seventh successive Championship defeat.
The Knights were the better team throughout but were hit by a late sucker punch as they lost 25-18 to Sheffield, who duly jumped from seventh to joint-second in the table.
The Knights remain bottom but at least picked up a second bonus point and in 19-year-old scrum-half Johnson, a former York Acorn ARLC junior now with Castleford Tigers, they could have solved their creative issues at half-back.
Said Knights assistant boss Mick Ramsden: “I watched him when he was 13 and he scored 100-odd tries in a season.
“He signed for Cas when he was about 14. He’s a good lad as well. He’s got a good attitude. The (opposing) defence know if they’re not sharp with him, he can break them down.
“He made a few breaks. It was just what we needed and it’s taken some pressure off (player-coach) Chris Thorman at stand-off.”
Of major concern off the field was another horribly low crowd, just 462 turning out for the Premier Sports-televised match.
Ramsden, though, was delighted with those who were there. “It was great to see them chanting and banging the drum again and I want to thank them for that.”
As for the team’s performance, he said: “I thought the lads played very well. The effort, desire and commitment throughout was fantastic, particularly in defence.
“If there was a chance to beat Sheffield it would’ve been (last night) with the heavy conditions.
“The line speed and getting into them – we were forcing errors. The pack were excellent, battling down the middle.”
Jack Aldous came in for special praise.
“He keeps going and going,” said Ramsden. “He’s probably dropped his form over the last few weeks but he was back on top form.
“All the guys will take confidence from that.
“The players have felt down a bit but the changing room was lifted, and there was a bit more spark in some of the players. They can see if they work hard they can get something out of it.
“We rate all the players. They’re a good bunch of lads.
“They’re going through a difficult period and have fallen into a losing habit. They need things to go their way a little bit.”