JOE BROWN believes that York City Knights have taken a “step in the right direction” following their narrow 30-22 defeat at promotion-chasing Featherstone Rovers.

York pushed second-placed Featherstone all the way at the Millennium Stadium but just fell short of toppling the big-spending Rovers.

While the result now leaves the Knights on a four-match losing streak, their latest performance was arguably their best display in a number of weeks given the standard of the opposition and that they were missing eight players including starting full-back Matty Marsh and captain Chris Clarkson.

“I thought that it was a step in the right direction and I thought that it was a massive improvement from last week (a 32-16 defeat to Batley Bulldogs), although it wasn’t the result we wanted,” said Brown.

“There’s loads to be proud of about that performance. There were lads out there that are 18 and 19-years-old and they really gave it a good dig for us.

“We’re disappointed with the defeat but it’s a step in the right direction for us.”

Brown bagged a late first-half try for the Knights as they battled back from 18-4 down to an 18-16 deficit.

Capitalising on a Pauli Pauli offload, the former Bradford Bulls man raced to the sticks before beating off a would-be tackler at the line.

Brown enthused: “Pauli takes some stopping and his skill is unbelievable when he gets that arm free.

“Pauli is a special player and that’s what he can do. I think we need to get on the end of Pauli a little bit more though.”

Without Marsh, Ford opted to move Brown from the wing to full-back, not a totally unfamiliar role for the 24-year-old who has played in the position at previous clubs.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played there but that’s no excuse," said Brown. "There’s a few bits that I need to work on. But I’ve played there before so it was nothing new to me.

“I probably underestimated how hard it is, but I enjoyed it. I could have got on the end of a few more bits.

“For us now, hopefully we can put in a good performance in the (Summer) Bash against Newcastle (on Sunday, 6.15pm).”