YORK City Knights returned to winning ways in the Betfred Championship as they came from behind to beat Sheffield Eagles 20-12.

Ross Oakes gave Sheffield an early lead before Matty Marsh, Bailey Antrobus and Liam Harris went over for York before half time.

Despite seeing three players sin-binned, Sheffield responded to score twice in the second half and tee up a nervy final dozen minutes.

However, James Glover eventually settled matters with a late match-sealing try against his former club.

Having been on a run of six defeats from their last eight matches, the most recent of which was last week’s 100-4 rout at Leigh Centurions, a victory by whatever means was a must for the Knights.

This was an attritional, tough and gritty win, built on a period of sustained defence in the second half. Given such attributes were being openly questioned by head coach James Ford at the Leigh Sports Village, seeing those on show was a huge boost.

Ford will likely be under little allusions about the steps still needed to challenge the sides in the play-offs next month though, having edged past a Sheffield side yet to beat a top six team this year.

But this felt like the first step in building some form for the season-deciding series, with matches against bottom four sides Newcastle Thunder and Workington Town rounding off the regular season.

The Knights’ 17 was also reassuringly much strengthened after last week’s injury crisis.

Jacob Ogden, Jamie Ellis, Myles Harrison, Joe Porter and Chris Clarkson all missed out, the latter through injury.

Brad Ward, Brendan O’Hagan, Jordan Thompson, Danny Kirmond and Ata Hingano returned, with the Leigh loanee Hingano moved from his usual half-back to loose forward.

For any pessimistic York fans out there post-Leigh, spirits were not exactly lifted when Sheffield opened the scoring on just six minutes.

Tom Holmes put Joel Farrell through a gap and, after the Jamaica international was ankle-tapped, he regathered his feet to put Oakes over.

With Josh Guzdek missing amid shoulder surgery, second-rower Farrell was the unlikely goal-kicker and missed his first of three conversions, all of which were wayward.

Sheffield’s strong start continued yet they struggled to turn that into points. A brilliant shift play saw Ryan Johnson break clear before Evan Hodgson’s knock-on while Anthony Thackeray’s kick ran too deep for Johnson to ground.

Discipline soon let the Eagles, a recurrent theme as they went onto to be shown three yellow cards.

A six-again and a penalty gave York the field position for Marsh to throw an inside step and score down the right.

The Knights’ purple patch continued when Matty Chrimes dropped Harris’ high kick, allowing Ata Hingano’s short pass to put Antrobus across the whitewash.

Harris missed the first conversion, with Glover successfully taking over thereafter.

Chrimes attempted to atone for his error but was shoved into touched by former Eagle Glover in the left corner.

Once more, York were able to profit from Sheffield’s mistakes before the break. Farrell’s knock-on and an offside call against the visitors saw the Eagles pinned in deep and unable to repel Brendan O’Hagan’s grubber for Harris to ground.

Harris followed that up with a beautiful 40/20 kick but Ronan Dixon knocked on in his charge for the line.

Former Hull FC half-back Harris was in the thick of things again when his brilliant read saw him field a Sheffield kick and race to halfway before being on the receiving end of a high shot from Holmes, who was sin-binned.

Glover, who converted Harris’ earlier score, ambitiously went for goal, but his attempt fell short.

Leading 16-4 and with a man advantage heading into the second half, the hosts were unable to make those factors count after the restart.

Vila Halafihi’s sharp dart out of dummy half saw the 12-men Eagles hit back five minutes into the half.

The Knights then resolutely defended set after set on their own line, with ex-Knight Ben Jones-Bishop, Brandon Douglas and Bayley Liu all held up by York’s valiant backline.

Sheffield’s frustrations showed when Thackeray was sin-binned for a swinging arm on O’Hagan before Liu began a scuffle with Marsh, which saw the pair carded.

Again, the Eagles were the side who scored in the absence of a full complement of 13 as Johnson stepped inside AJ Towse from a right-hand-side move.

That cut the York lead down to just four points heading into the final quarter of an hour, with the Knights on the ropes when Towse lost the ball 5m from his own line.

Thankfully for the home faithful, Jones-Bishop coughed up possession a play later.

The stand-out Harris won a drop-out through a clever blindside kick before the Knights eventually won it.

On the back of a penalty, Harris grubbered through for Glover to wrap up the victory.

York: Marsh, Ward, Glover, Brown, Towse, Harris, O’Hagan, Teanby, Jubb, Thompson, Kirmond, Antrobus, Hingano.

Subs (all used): Dixon, Stock, Michael, Inman.

Tries: Marsh (20’), Antrobus (23’), Harris (33’), Glover (78’)

Goals: Harris (0/1), Glover (2/4)

Sin-bin: Marsh (59’)

York’s star man: Liam Harris. Finished with a try and an assist and carried threat all night for York.

Sheffield: Jones-Bishop, Johnson, Welham, Oakes, Chrimes, Holmes, Thackeray, Douglas, Halafihi, Dickinson, Wood, J. Farrell, Hodgson.

Subs (all used): Bower, Broadbent, Kirk, Liu.

Tries: Oakes (6’), Halafihi (45’), Johnson (64’)

Goals: J. Farrell (0/3)

Sin-bin: Holmes (40’), Thackeray (58’), Liu (59’)

Referee: Nick Bennett

Attendance: Not given

Penalties/Six-agains: 10-12

Goal-line drop-outs forced: 1-1