YORK City Knights boss James Ford has played down the half-time rollicking he gave his team at Butts Park Arena - describing it as a "brief chat" and praising his players for their response.

The Knights had thrown away an 18-0 lead against minnows Coventry and were lucky to be back ahead at the break thanks to a fortunate try just moments after the Bears had an effort disallowed.

But the second half was a different story as the Minster city side overran their hosts to rack up a 58-18 victory which kept them joint-top of Betfred League One with Bradford Bulls.

Ford had emerged from the changing rooms long before his team returned to the pitch and, asked what he'd told the players, he said: "We identified where we were going wrong and talked about what we needed to do better.

"They went out and improved, they responded, so well done to them.

"But we should not need that kind of intervention.

"They weren't playing very well were they, in those last 20 minutes. We had a brief chat about that and mentioned one or two areas we needed to be better in.

"We just made sure that was reinforced, and the players came out and they did it, so credit to them."

The Knights had been big favourites against a Midlands expansion club with only one win to their name this term.

Ford said of the contest as a whole: "Credit to Coventry. They scored a couple of nice tries and asked some questions of us, and they were probably unfortunate in some instances where they maybe deserved more from one or two things.

"I was really pleased with how we started and with the second half.

"But in the 20 minutes before half-time - and don't take anything away from Coventry, they were good - we were miles off.

"We were soft, lazy, selfish. Every characteristic you don't want your team to be associated with, we were.

"We had a brief chat about it at half-time. The players knew. They came out and responded really well. I was pretty pleased with the second-half performance."

He added: "We will learn and move on. Hopefully the team learns that it's not about turning up on a Sunday and passing the ball around people and chipping it over and offloading.

"You have to start every single game of rugby league with aggression - running hard, tackling hard, chopping hard, retreating fast and working harder than the other team.

"On the back of that our skill sets us apart from other sides.

"But if we're going to turn up and run soft, tackle soft and chop terribly then sides will post points on us, like Coventry did, and well done to Coventry for doing that."

Ford, meanwhile, had only praise for Chris Siddons, the former BARLA international who gave a man-of-the-match performance in the front row.

"I thought Siddo was superb - absolutely top drawer," said Ford. "He was in my opinion our best player by an absolute mile.

"It was an outstanding performance from a ball-playing middle.

"He really mixed around his carries, he dropped some crosses, showed some crosses and carried. There was some really good shape around him, a couple of little tip-ons. He basically asked opponents to make a lot of decisions.

"It was a very intelligent performance and he worked really hard."

Elsewhere, Dan Maskill made his debut at hooker on loan from Featherstone.

Said Ford of his display: "It was always going to be difficult for a hooker coming into a side with different plays, a different philosophy and different people around him.

"It will take a little time to establish himself and build combinations.

"He did okay but he'll need to be better if he's going to play regularly for us."