JAMES FORD apologised to the supporters for the York City Knights’ performance after their 30-6 defeat at Halifax Panthers.

York were convincingly beaten by their Betfred Championship play-off rivals Halifax who took control of the contest early on and rarely looked in danger of relinquishing their grip on proceedings.

Despite a number of errors, the Knights were able to limit the dominant Panthers to a ten-point lead at half-time but Halifax were on top in the energy battle and posted a further 20 points in the second period.

The defeat is York’s fifth from nine league games and they remain without a win against any side in the top six.

“We made it really hard for ourselves with the start, with the amount of errors and penalties that we gave away,” said head coach Ford.

“We gave Halifax the possession and we managed that. We withstood that and, at 10-6, you’re in the game.

“But, I feel like that caught up with us at the end of the game. Having said that, we need to apologise to the supporters and the people that have come from York to watch that and the people who have paid on OurLeague.

“It just wasn’t good enough and I’ve spoke to the players about it in there.

“I can’t get my head around why one or two of them feel that they can serve that up and move on and play next week.

“There needs to be some significant improvements in a lot of the players.”

The Knights’ cause was not helped by a first-half injury to Kriss Brining, which appeared to be a recurrence of his hamstring issue, and Brendan O’Hagan’s struggle after a late shot on the half-back.

Ford insisted: “I’m not making excuses about it, with picking up injuries to Kriss and Brendan, because they didn’t mean that we had to miss tackles and lay on the floor.

“I’m far from happy and I will apologise to the supporters because we want the same thing and we’re going to work really hard to get it.

“We gave them a lot of possession which impacted the energy of both teams, negatively to us and positively to them.

“Ultimately, they bullied us, they bullied us around the middle and I’m asking questions of our blokes. ‘Why can’t we go and bully them?’ We need to toughen up.”

The problems that plagued York’s performance are not new ones. Ford has spoken for several weeks about the need to tidy up in the team’s handling and cutting out the amount of possession being given to opponents.

“We talk about it, look at it, practise it, we feel we’re going forwards and then we come up with a 10-15 minute period like that, which makes things much more difficult than they should be,’ said Ford.

“Against a big physical side like Halifax it’s just not how you come here and win.

“We gifted Halifax a lot of possession and territory with some really sloppy mistakes and we hung in there. But that had an impact on our energy for the last 20 to 30 minutes.

“Good teams don’t forward pass from dummy half, they don’t kick the ball dead from the halfway line, don’t knock on playing the ball or conceding a 40/20 when you’re stood a metre away.

“Good teams don’t do that and we are at the minute, so we’ve got a lot of hard work to do.”