YORK City Knights have fallen behind in the race for the Betfred Championship play-offs after suffering a 30-6 defeat at Halifax Panthers.

York were unable to create attacking momentum in the first half as a series of errors saw them go into half-time 10-0 behind.

The tide looked as if it was going to swing the Knights’ way after the restart when Matty Marsh hit back early on.

But Halifax saved their best attacking play for the second period and, in a mesmerising spell, they scored three times in just seven minutes to take the game well away from their top six rivals.

Once again the question marks surround York’s consistency in making errors which continues to prove very costly, especially against the division’s better sides, like Halifax.

To put the performances in some context, it should be pointed out that, once again, there was a change in half-backs, which has not helped the attacking fluency.

Brendan O’Hagan was back in the halves, with Ben Jones-Bishop also returning to the side after injury, though the Knights were without Danny Kirmond and Adam Cuthbertson, the former of whom was injured.

Forwards Tim Spears and Joe Porter were back in the pack in their stead.

The returning Jones-Bishop had defending to do early on as Halifax made a rapid start to the game, with the winger solidly fielding a Scott Grix chip wide.

York seemed to wrestled back control in a strong defensive set by Halifax immediately hit back through a Grix 40/20 kick which resulted in Ben Kavanagh getting through a gap on the left side.

Liam Harris’ conversion fell short.

James Ford had spoken in the build-up of “tidying up” certain areas but the Knights’ habit of making early errors was continuing to prove costly.

After Kieran Dixon lost the ball in centre field, Halifax were in prime position for Harris to grubber and, after the ball bobbled around the try-line, Matty Garside bundled his way over. This time, Harris found the target with the kick.

Dixon went someway to making amends when his brilliant kick restart won York a drop-out. From the resultant set, the Knights saw Joe Porter and Riley Dean held up but the set ended on a sloppy note as Will Jubb was easily stopped five metres out.

Ineffective play fives haunted York again when Dean’s high kick carried far too much weight and headed out on the full.

York did have sufficient territory to post their first points of the game as they were given three penalties in nearly as many minutes.

But, on almost every occasion, errors crept in to York’s game and the ball ended up on the ground.

Things went from bad to worse for the Knights as, just a weeks after his return, Kriss Brining picked up what looked like a recurrence of hamstring injury.

With seconds of the half to go, York managed to defend a set on their own line after Marsh dropped a high kick and as the hooter sounded one of the few positives was that the deficit stood at just 10.

As we’ve seen so often this year, York looked a completely different proposition after the break. Within minutes of the restart they were on the board when Marsh scythed through after James Saltonstall’s error under his posts. Kieran Dixon added the two.

The impetus was now with York but, in a killer blow, Halifax scored in three minutes against the run of play.

Elliot Morris’ offload put Grix to the danger zone and the half-back followed up by kicking to the corner for Nick Rawsthorne to ground.

Then, the in-form James Woodburn-Hall sent Grix through the line and he in turn showed good hands to tee up Brandon Moore for an easy score. Conversions from Harris followed both scores.

To compound that for York, they kicked out on the full from the subsequent restart and Halifax duly punished them by going over for the fifth time.

York were unable to deal some brilliant attacking shape and execution from the Panthers and Grix was its main architect.

The former Huddersfield Giants star threw a classy cut-out pass that allowed Saltonstall to acrobatically finish by the flag. Harris’ touchline effort was missed.

The 37-year-old Grix continued to pull the strings for the hosts, his grubber winning Fax a drop-out but York defended well and held up Greg Worthington.

To York’s credit, there was certainly no lack of effort, even as the clock ticked down to full-time. Ryan Atkins went close to registering a consolation but could not keep hold of O’Hagan nice-looking cross field kick. The Australian also won his side a drop-out with a neat kick.

But, reflecting their dominance over proceedings, Halifax added a sixth try to the scoreboard late on.

After Amir Bourouh was held up by a brilliant one-on-one tackle from Marsh, Fax scored through Adam Tangata who wrestled his way over, with Harris unable to convert.

In the dying seconds, Bourouh and Jordan Baldwinson were sent to the sin bin for their part in a melee between the two sets of players.

Halifax: Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall, McComb, Worthington, Rawsthorne, Grix, Harris, Springer, Moore, Murray, Kavanagh, Garside, Tangata.

Subs (all used): Bourouh, Larroyer, Fairbank, Morris.

Tries: Kavanagh (8), Garside (17), Rawsthorne (50), Moore (53), Saltonstall (57), Tangata (77)

Goals: Harris (3/6)

Sin bins: Bourouh (79)

York: Marsh, Jones-Bishop, Salter, Atkins, K. Dixon, O’Hagan, Dean, Baldwinson, Jubb, Teanby, Porter, Scott, Clarkson.

Subs (all used): Brining, Spears, Stock, Green.

Tries: Marsh (43)

Goals: K. Dixon (1/1)

Sin bins: Baldwinson (79)

York’s Star Man: Kieran Dixon. Ran strongly all the game from the wing and was one of York’s few stand-outs in the first half.

Attendance: 82