YORK City Knights boss James Ford thanked Keighley counterpart Craig Lingard for doing “75 per cent” of his job for him after the high-flying Minster city side left Cougar Park with a 46-14 win – saying Lingard’s pre-match comments were “well and truly rammed down his throat”.

He also labelled the Cougars “a really ill-disciplined and grubby bunch of blokes” after York half-back Connor Robinson was seemingly concussed by a high shot only to be manhandled on the floor by opponents.

Robinson was eventually treated by medics and helped off the field but Ford called for a “huge sanction” for anyone guilty of breaking player welfare protocol.

Lingard had claimed in the build-up to the match that his side had better strike players on the edges and that while “it looks like York are scoring some really good offensive tries… all they're doing is going down the middle and playing off the back of a quick ruck”.

Ford, who has had previous spats with Lingard, said afterwards: “It was an easy job for me this week (thanks to) the Keighley coach with his idiotic comments – it was absolutely bizarre for him to speak about a side that finishes above them every year.

“My whole team was incredibly motivated by those (comments).

“I think those words were well and truly rammed down his throat.”

The result kept the Knights second in Betfred League One, with Keighley eight points behind in sixth.

Ford also discussed the Robinson incident, which came in the 54th minute and saw ex-Knight Brad Nicholson sin-binned for the second time in the match.

Asked about the performance of referee Billy Pearson, the York boss said: “I think it’s very hard to referee Keighley because they’re a very grubby team – and that must come from the top.

“If my players conducted themselves like that, they would get told not to straight away.

“I thought the referee did a decent job. I’m not sure with (the) Connor Robinson (incident) – I didn’t see the initial incident (the high tackle) but he was withdrawn by the doctor and not allowed to go back on so it certainly isn’t nothing.

“For their players to be running in and picking up a knocked-out player – that should carry a huge sanction.

“Then obviously for stopping our physio from assessing him as well is really poor behaviour from a really ill-disciplined and grubby bunch of blokes.”

He added: “My grandad got paralysed as a young man. That kind of thing is just outrageous.

"In the heat of the moment the Keighley lads probably didn’t realise what they were doing but there’s protocol there for a reason and I’m sure if something really sinister had happened to Connor they would feel really bad.

“Maybe they need to look at that and take appropriate action going forward.”

Robinson’s premature departure was followed by that of skipper Tim Spears and Joe Batchelor, leaving a number of York players playing out of position.

“We ran hard and tackled hard,“ said Ford. “We had to amend our line-up frequently through the game as well, which is a bit of adversity, but we dealt with that admirably. We were clearly the better side from minute one to minute 80.

“If we had a little more composure in the first half in their 20 – I think we gave two penalties away with the ball and came up with an error early in the tackle count – and got into a rhythm and executed our plan, we would have scored another two or three tries.

“Keighley are going to have their moments in a game. They’ve got some good players. But we handled them really effectively in the large part.”