JAMES FORD hailed his side’s defence as “heroic” as York City Knights battled to a 30-18 victory at Barrow Raiders.

York built up a 10-point lead by half time but found themselves firmly under the cosh in a near 20-minute spell of consistent pressure on their try-line.

Somehow the Knights stood strong during that period and only conceded in the dying stages when the victory was already secured.

Such a defensive efforts have been the trademark to York’s success under head coach Ford and he once again highlighted its importance after the win away to Barrow.

“Our goal-line defence was heroic,” he enthused. “We speak a lot as a group about never giving up on stuff and York players never giving up on anything.

“We always out-compete and out-enthuse (teams) and we’re proud to try harder than other teams, in our opinion.

“I thought there were a couple of really brilliant examples of that here. Tee Ritson makes a break and he is the quickest player I’ve seen for a long time and I’ve got half my team chasing him back and the other half not too far behind. And we defend that set as well.

“I’m really really proud of that.”

While complimentary of the work his backline did, Ford was less positive of the offence shown by the Knights at Craven Park.

“I don’t think it was a vintage performance with the ball,” he said. “We didn’t shape up and execute our plan anywhere near enough or to the levels that we’re capable of.

“And we gave some daft penalties away that put us under pressure.

“But the effort to chase people back and chase our goal-line, I think it was three sets of four that we did, it was almost like an exercise in pre-season when you’re trying to really reinforce and stress-test our goal-line defence under fatigue.

“For them to come through that as often as they did and as effectively as they did, I was really proud.”