JAMES FORD believes that York City Knights’ 32-0 defeat at Leigh Centurions can serve as a “kick up the backside”.

York fell to successive defeats in the new Betfred Championship season, with the power of sides containing full-time players again being felt, following the 22-10 loss at Toulouse in round one.

The Knights were a match for Leigh for an hour of the contest, by which point they trailed 10-0, though they found their chances and territory limited.

But, the Centurions were able to find another gear to score four converted tries in the final quarter and underline their status as serious promotion contenders for Super League this term.

“I thought that it was well contested game for about 60-odd minutes,” said head coach Ford.

“I thought that we defended really well, and I think that on the back of our defence we gave ourselves the opportunity to press on and win the game.

“But we didn’t offer enough shape and we didn’t ask enough questions and when we did, we didn’t quite execute to the levels that we’d like to do.

“With that said, you’ve got to compliment Leigh for their defence and all of the hard work that they invested in to that performance.

“And, in those last ten minutes, they got the spoils for the investment that they put in in that first half.

“We knew that Leigh were going to be a tough side - they’re a full-time side.

“I’m confident that we can use this (result) as a learning curve, a bit of a kick up the backside and that we can build from it.”

In attack York had their occasional moments, though the advantage that Leigh had built after the opening quarter never seemed in too much trouble.

Key playmaker Connor Robinson was absent through suspension, with full-back Matty Marsh instead joining Ben Johnston in the halves.

“Physically, we were fine, our halves just didn’t offer enough,” Ford admitted.

“We’re aware of it, we’re working at it and I’m sure that we’ll get it right eventually.

“(Matty) got better in the second half, he dropped back into full-back (when Will Sharp went off injured) and he got more involved, with half breaks, which was pleasing.

“It was a good response from Matty.

“Matty is a good player and I’m not worried that Matty Marsh isn’t going to find the form that we know that he’s capable of.

“Attack is something that we’re still looking at. We’ve got shapes that we want to be using and we’ve not selected those options enough times.

“There was some new combinations. Kriss Brining hasn’t played for a while, Marshy moved into the halves, Sharpy went to full-back and Jonno (Johnston) is still new to the club.

“It looks like it’s taking a little bit of time to build those combinations, but I’m sure that we will do eventually.

“We did create some opportunities, but the pass was just behind the man or in front of the man.

“At this standard, when you’re playing against full-time sides, you’ve got to get it right otherwise you’re not going to win.”

Ford handed out three competitive debuts to Jimmy Keinhorst, Elliot Wallis and James Green.

“There were a couple of glimpses of Jimmy’s ability,” he assessed.

“He didn’t quite hit the high standards that we’ve come to expect from him.

“But, I thought that he got better, the longer that he was on the field, which is pleasing.

“I’m sure that Jimmy will have a positive season.

“James’ minutes were a little bit shorter than what we would have liked.

“We lost a couple of players through injury, so we had to change our plans a little bit.

“And, it was a difficult afternoon all round for the outside backs with the wind and Elliot was no different to that.

“For Elliot, it was a real test. But, I’m sure that he’ll learn and become a better player.”