“POOR” was how James Ford reflected upon the performance of his York City Knights side, who were beaten 16-6 by Halifax at Bootham Crescent.

After a point-less first half, Halifax led through Shaun Robinson’s opener though York were level from a finish by Matty Marsh.

But two more Halifax tries followed, via Steve Tyrer and Matty Garside, to leave the Knights’ winless from their opening two pre-season friendlies.

It would be unfair to draw too many conclusions from pre-season matches and be too critical of a York side that had nine interchanges on their bench and a rolling subs system which naturally draws away from a fluent performance.

But Ford felt that his side needed to show plenty of improvement in attack in comparison to the required standards.

“Overall, I thought that we were poor,” he reflected.

“I thought that our organisation and execution in good ball was miles off the levels that it needs to be at.

“We gave away some daft penalties as well. We can’t control the referee and what he’s doing, so we need to adapt to him, he’s not going to adapt to us, that’s just how it is.

“Having said that, I thought that we defended pretty well.

“I know that we’ve conceded three tries, two of them from kicks and one where they’ve fallen over the line and we probably should have been stronger on the goal line there.

“But, in the large, I thought that we defended pretty well.

“We put up some good contact and we were much better on the floor.

“We contained Halifax’s back three better than Huddersfield did and they’re a Super League side.

“I thought that our reactive play was all right at times, we got some offloads and a bit of tempo. We’ve pushed up on that better than we have done historically.

“We just need to be better in terms of executing our structured good ball.”

The Knights have one more pre-season game to go, against Bradford Bulls at their temporary home in Dewsbury, before their Betfred Championship season opener at Toulouse on February 1.

“Can do better,” was his assessment of the team’s current position.

“Although there’s no league points available during these games, we’ve got standards.

“And I thought that we’ve fallen down a little bit from them today.

“The boys have got the game against Bradford to show me that they’re in form and that they’re ready to play against a very good side in Toulouse.

“So, they’ll need to be some improvements.”

Half-back Connor Robinson was one of the stand-out performers for York, kicking effectively in the first half and setting up the Knights’ sole try.

“Connor’s a far better player than how he played today,” adjudged Ford.

“I believe massively in the two half-backs that we’ve got at this club.

“I think that they can be really top half-backs for us in this competition.

“But, they’ll be as disappointed as I was with what they’ve produced.

“But, I know that they’ll work hard at their game and I know that they’ll be better against Bradford.

“As long as they’re in form for Toulouse, I’ll be happy.”