JAMES FORD said that he could not fault the "toughness and togetherness" shown by his York City Knights side, which fell to a fifth consecutive Betfred Championship defeat.

York rallied from 20 points behind against Newcastle Thunder to trail by just two, but eventually fell short and were beaten 28-26 at the LNER Community Stadium.

The Knights were keenly hampered by having no recognised half-backs available and were forced to field a winger and a forward there instead.

Despite those issues, York showed plenty of fight in the contest, even if the result did not go their way once more.

"It's obviously disappointing to lose, but I'm really proud of the boys' effort and how tough they are," said head coach Ford. "The performance wasn't pretty, but it was never going to be.

"We had no recognised halves. We had someone who normally plays on the wing for us at full-back and losing Will Jubb at points of the game through a suspected arm fracture, it was a real challenge.

"Clearly, we didn't ask enough questions with the ball and we didn't throw enough shape at Newcastle.

"But there are some reasons there and not excuses. I'm really proud of the toughness and togetherness. Individually, I thought that the boys showed that they're here and ready to fight for it."

Without a creative pair through the middle, York struggled to ask questions of Newcastle's defence in the first half and once again went into half-time trailing.

Ford said: "There were periods in the first half where we didn't touch the ball for 10 minutes, with six again's and penalties. We hung in there then and fought really hard.

"Making metres, defending well - we did that in abundance, we probably just didn't kick the ball as well as you would do (normally) and pull shape off as often as you would like to.

"But we've got a middle unit at scrum-half and Ben Jones-Bishop at stand-off. You throw some half-backs into that side and I think that you've got the makings of a good side."