YORK City Knights suffered their fourth straight league defeat, losing 18-12 to London Broncos, but there could be few complaints about either their performance or effort.

Three converted tries in the first 25 minutes put London in the driving seat though, as they had done just two weeks ago ini the Challenge Cup tie between the sides., York fought back.

Matty Marsh scored twice before half-time to leave the London lead at six points and the momentum in York’s favour.

In the second-half, it was one way traffic upon the London line and York threw everything into gaining an equalising score.

A disallowed try, several held-up calls and some mighty Broncos defence somehow prevented the Knights registering any points.

To say the better side lost would not be an unfair statement.

It was a marked improvement on the 28-4 defeat at Halifax last week, with coach James Ford making four changes to his 17 from that game. 

The most notable of which saw Ben Johnston seemingly dropped in favour at forward Danny Washbrook in the halves.

Huddersfield Giants loanee Reiss Butterworth debuted from the bench while Jason Bass, Will Sharp and Joe Porter all returned from injury to feature in the 17.

York had matched London well for the first ten minutes and were probably the better of the sides when they conceded the opening try.

It stemmed from a Broncos penalty and, after making plenty of metres in the resulting set, Cory Aston’s short ball set up Rhys Curran to barge his way to the line.

Five minutes later, the Broncos doubled their lead. While not at the scintillating best seen in the Challenge Cup a fortnight previously, the were managing to replicate their rapid start on the scoreboard.

Former Castleford stand-off Aston was again the architect by hoisting a bomb that Tuoyo Egodo picked up, with the Knights seemingly holding up the winger.

But, somehow, Egodo managed to find the supporting Guy Armitage who applied the finish.

Conversions from Kieran Dixon followed both scores.

York could feel a little hard done by given the manner of the game. They’d matched the former Super League team for a quarter of an hour, forcing errors and making few individuals mistakes yet found themselves two scores behind due to the clinical London attack.

As they had done at the Ealing Trailfinders, London scored a third successive try. Again it came from a penalty, this time putting them 10m away, and once more Aston played in Curran who spun past a defender to the line.

Dixon slotted over the kick.

York continued creating chances and felt like the game’s aggressors despite the scoreline.

Butterworth’s first involvement on debut saw him force a repeat set from a kick and from it York had their best opportunity thus far.

Jordan Baldwinson was held up in the resulting set and Sharp was put in touch after a neat Chris Clarkson offload.

On 32 minutes, the Knights finally broke through. A great individual piece of skill by Matty Marsh saw the the full-back chase his own grubber kick and ground the ball out wide. Connor Robinson added the extras.

By now it was one way traffic on the London line and York ensured that they were back in the game with another score before the break.

More great skill, this time from Robinson’s nicely weighted reverse kick, allowed Marsh to touch down near the sticks.

The conversion from Robinson was a formality and it was very much game on again as half-time hooter sounded.

York continued to be the side creating chances after the break but London were able to hold out in the face of the early second-half pressure.

Liam Salter went close from a Robinson bomb before Baldwinson was called offside after touching down a loose ball.

Clarkson was held up from Washbrook’s pass on the last as the Knights pushed for a leveller.

It was a sign of the pressure that London were under when Matty Fozard opted to kick for touch as the Broncos got midway into the York half after only 10 minutes of the second period.

Robinson’s high kicks had been nullified by Kieran Dixon’s catches all afternoon, until Ed Chamberlain dropped the ball, putting York 10m away.

Keinhorst was held up on the first and then Butterworth was stopped likewise a few plays later as the London backline was pushed to its limit.

On 64 minutes came York’s best chance. Robinson propped up a kick to the left which Bass claimed and, facing the opposition direction, he sprang for the corner but fell agonisingly short.

With 10 minutes remained, the game had become a war of attrition and both sides were evidently drained of energy.

In the dying seconds, York conjured two late chances. Keinhorst hopefully threw a pass wide to Sharp, which fell to the ground.

And, as the hooter, Bass was stopped in the middle of several London defenders - a picture which surmised the game.

York: Marsh, Bass, Keinhorst, Salter, Sharp, Washbrook, Robinson, Teanby, Jubb, Clarkson, Scott, Porter, Spears.

Subs: Butterworth, Baldwinson, Green, Stock.

Tries: Marsh (32, 38)

Goals: Robinson (2/2)

London: Dixon, Chamberlain, Lovell, Armitage, Egodo, Aston, Smith, Allgood, Fozard, Butler, Curran, Walters, Battye.

Subs: Krasniqi, Davis, Norman, Williams.

Tries: Curran (10, 25), Armitage (15)

Goals: Dixon (3/3)

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.

Attendance: 1,364.

York Man of the Match: Matty Marsh. Great pieces of skills to score York’s two tries. 

Penalty count: 9-5