Bradford Bulls 6 York City Knights 4

YORK City Knights’ final pre-season game at Bradford Bulls ended in abandonment with talisman Connor Robinson sent off late on.

With around seven minutes remaining and Bradford leading 6-4 at the Tetley’s Stadium, Robinson was shown a straight red card for his part in one of several feisty moments in the second period, potentially ruling him out of Saturday’s season opener at Toulouse.

Half-back partner Ben Johnston was also given a yellow card for his part in the incident.

Minutes later, another scuffle ensued and the referee abandoned the game. Poor light was the reason given by the stadium’s PA.

York trailed following David Foggin-Johnston’s first-half opening try, converted by Jordan Lilley, before Elliot Wallis cut the deficit late on.

Despite his late indiscretions, Robinson enjoyed a strong start. He was York’s stand-out player in the first half against Halifax last weekend and the stand-off was causing early problems for Bradford too.

His incredible high bomb was dropped backwards by Brandon Pickersgill and a few sets later his quick thinking saw the Knights win a 40/20.

From it came the game’s first genuine chance. Hooker Will Jubb darted out of dummy half from close range, but was held up by a couple of Bulls markers.

Such determined defence in the face of York pressure was the story of the opening dozen minutes.

The Bulls side featured 29 players on its team sheet, the majority of whom are summer recruits of a particularly young age, so it was easy to why such tough defence was being employed with so many players vying for starting places.

A tightly contested first-half saw few chances, further akin to the Knights’ clash with Halifax.

Thomas Doyle had one of Bradford’s rare opportunities, though he was held up.

With five minutes to go until the break, Danny Washbrook and Robinson combined to break through the middle.

But Bradford fielded Johnston’s subsequent grubber and then won a penalty, the Bulls’ sixth of the half.

On the stroke of half-time, Robinson broke away down the blindside and made plenty of metres for York.

It looked to have started a dangerous Knights attack, however it did the opposite as Bradford made the interception down the left flank and Foggin-Johnston was the player to eventually profit, touching down by the sticks.

Lilley added the conversion and Bradford led 6-0 at the break.

The Bulls were barely recognisable after the restart, due to their whole host of interchanges.

Yet any thoughts of them lacking early cohesion was soon dispelled by Cobi Green’s intelligent kick which Jason Bass dropped.

The youthful Bulls side’s eagerness showed to be overly so, giving away back-to-back penalties to put York in close range.

Matty Marsh sent a pass to Will Sharp in the right corner, but a Bulls hand stopped that chance.

Then, Marsh went alone from the scrum to the left flank though this time he knocked on out wide.

Liam Salter then tried a charge by the left flag, only to be caught in-touch metres short.

Minutes later, the Knights went back to the right corner, with Sharp acrobatically leaping for the line and thinking he’d touched down.

The referee saw otherwise, ruling it wide of the corner.

By this point, it was one-way attack in York’s favour as different players attempted to break their deadlock.

Sam Scott was the next to try to do so, but was a blade of grass short on the back of a short pass.

Then it was the turn of Jack Teanby to go for the line and somehow he was surrounded by bodies and forcing the held call.

But, a play later, York, finally, were in.

Robinson delayed a pass to the left and Wallis was on hand to dive over.

The touchline conversion from Robinson was wide.

Then came the drama. A scuffle between the sets of players saw Robinson sent off and Johnston sin binned.

Moments after, the two sets of players were to head to head once again and then the referee Liam Staveley called the game off.

The lack of light in the ground was the reason given by the stadium announcer.

Regardless of the result, the concern for York is that of Robinson’s availability for the trip to Toulouse next weekend.

Bradford: Pickersgill, Johnson, Brown, Oakes, Foggin-Johnston, Milnes, Lilley, Bowden, Doyle, Crossley, Rooks, Gallagher, Kirk.

Subs (all used): Berry, Shackleton, Nzoungou, Ho, Scurr, Foster, Hodgson, Race, Leadbeater, Butterworth, Smith, Vaznys, Green, Culling, Jowitt, Stephenson.

Tries: Foggin-Johnston (38)

Goals: Lilley (1/1)

York: Marsh, Wallis, Bass, Salter, Sharp, Johnston, Robinson, Green, Jubb, Clarkson, Washbrook, Scott, Spears.

Subs (all used): Teanby, Stock, Porter, Hey, Baldwinson, Jordan-Roberts, Towse, Harrison.

Tries: Wallis (68)

Goals: Robinson (0/1)

Sent off: Robinson

Sin bin: Johnston

Man of the Match: Chris Clarkson. A tireless worker in the first half and his ball handling, particularly for a prop, continues to impress.

Penalties: 7-10

Referee: Liam Staveley

Attendance: 932.