BRADFORD Bulls coach John Kear struggled to contain his ire after his side's top-of-the-table defeat to York City Knights - specifically regarding Knights prop Josh Johnson.

The dual-reg Hull KR front-rower was allowed to play in the match despite an impending one-match ban following his red card against Doncaster a fortnight ago. He would normally have had to sit out the Odsal clash but the suspension was deferred for a week.

Johnson scored York's opening try as they built an ultimately crucial 24-0 lead in the first half before holding on in the second to triumph 30-28 and go level on points with the Bulls at the summit.

Kear made his point when asked about the Bulls' season's best crowd of 6,471 - the biggest-ever League One attendance barring last year's gates at Toronto Wolfpack.

"The crowd were great - they helped us. We were under the pump big style in that first half-hour and they helped us and brought us through," he said.

"I would like to flag up Josh Johnson's appearance because two weeks ago he was sent off against Doncaster and according to rugby league protocol it should have been dealt with and this should have been the first game of his suspension he picked up.

“The RFL have said they didn’t receive any reports, which I can’t believe in an era of digital media and emails etc.

“We made this complaint on Friday before the game so nobody could say it was sour grapes, but there's been a complaint lodged with the RFL.

“They told us it was a failure to receive reports but I think that is utter nonsense in this era, so, there's one for you."

He added: “Anybody could have seen it. Him and (Doncaster's) Russ Spiers were sent off in the fourth minute for trading punches – and for me that should be a suspension.

“It’s not sour grapes because we did it prior to this. It’s a pop at the RFL and their inefficiency.”

Kear, meanwhile, challenged the Bulls to bounce back from their first Odsal loss in League One by winning all their remaining games to ultimately beat York to promotion.

His side remain in pole position but are only ahead of the Knights now on points difference with eight games left.

Kear, who felt the contest was a fantastic advert for the competition, is calling on his players to shake off the disappointment and aim for a perfect finish.

He said: “We have to win every game. It’s a pretty easy conundrum to work out.

“We’ve got a better points difference at the minute and we’ve just got to knock off each game one at a time.

“They’ve got to attempt to catch our points difference up – that’s what it means to both teams.

“We’re still top of the league and it’s in our hands. We have to win eight from eight.

“York have to do the same and post some points as well but they are capable of doing that.

“We’ll have to keep an eye on them and they’ll do the same to us I’m sure. Then one of us will be champions and the other in the play-offs at the end of the season.”

Bulls half-back Joe Keyes was taken to hospital with concussion after play was stopped for nearly eight minutes for treatment.

Kear added: “His neck is okay so he’s pleased with that.

“But it’s his second concussion this season, so he’ll have to go and see a specialist.

“He’ll have to be cleared and obviously it’s an eight-day protocol. He won’t be available for next week against London but we’ve got (new signing) Jordan Lilley who’ll step in to that role.”