JAMES FORD admitted that his York City Knights side “needed to be stronger mentally” as a late first-half flurry from Halifax Panthers saw them fall to a 40-24 defeat.

Three tries in five minutes at the end of the first 40 minutes proved to be the turning point in Halifax’s triumph over York.

That the Panthers were able to post such points while down to 11 and then 12 men turned the tide of the contest.

Ford said: “First of all, congratulations to Halifax. I thought they played really well and dealt with some adversity early on in the game, a couple of yellow cards, and at 18-6, we were on the cusp of turning the screw and staying on top.

“But momentum is a funny thing in rugby league and we’ve forced a pass that we wouldn’t normally force.

“(Lachlan) Walmsley has been good enough to intercept it and score. I think we fell apart a little bit for five or 10 minutes after that.

“We conceded a couple of tries around that and kicked out on the full. I think we needed to be a little bit stronger mentally when things were going against us.

“I’m really proud of the effort and togetherness but I don’t think it was anywhere near the standards that we’ve set.”