YORK City Knights laboured to back-to-back wins in the Betfred Championship after edging past bottom-four side Newcastle Thunder 24-18 at Kingston Park.

The two sides crossed for four tries each in a tight affair in which neither side were clearly out in front, with York in the end thankful to the goal-kicking of Liam Harris for the two points.

Having beaten Newcastle by 29 and 32 points in the first two months of the season, the Knights were pushed all the way by fourth-from-bottom Thunder, who are on an eight-match winless run and were pushing for a last-second equaliser by the death.

The performance further throws into question York’s momentum and form building into the play-offs, which kick-off after the final day at home to Workington Town next week.

Perhaps the most worrying concern, aside from the improvements still being sought, is the ankle injury suffered by Ata Hingano, who was again deployed at loose forward but lasted just four minutes there. He was helped off the field and played no further part in the match.

That York’s attack appeared disjointed for the rest of the half without him was of no surprise and it can only be hoped, for the Knights’ play-off chances, that he is able to make a speedy recovery.

In his absence, the visitors conceded first with some good hands releasing Alex Donaghy down the left flank before he last-man Matty Marsh in the corner.

Josh Woods missed the conversion and his kick a few minutes later ran far too deep, alongside a penalty, allowing York some cheap metres, that they would capitalise on.

A strong inside line by James Glover saw the centre briefly halted a metre or so out before he reached out to score through some awful Newcastle defence.

Liam Harris added the first of three successful conversions from four attempts.

York failed to build on that, with Jordan Thompson, days on from signing a new three-year deal with the club, knocking on and, after Isaac Nokes was held up, a beautiful short ball from Woods put Nathan Wilde strolling over from close range.

This time, Woods added the extras.

The profligate Knights attack continued as a promising break down the right ended in Joe Brown failing to find an inside kick before a Liam Harris bomb travelled far too deep.

It took the work of interchange Ronan Dixon, on his 100th York appearance, to inspire the next score.

The prop, who would not feature after half time, found a wonderful offload to Marsh, allowing him to put Brendan O’Hagan over.

The Knights managed to see out a two-point half-time lead, although Newcastle finished as the stronger side, with one-time York dual registration player Mitch Clark held up under the sticks.

After the restart, O’Hagan’s kick won a drop-out, from which Glover was held up as York’s passing lacked crispness.

Offensive fluency eventually came on 51 minutes when Marsh delayed a ball to Brown, for the winger to stroll in.

O’Hagan continued to kick strongly, his grubber, just running too deep for the chasing Harris.

The former Hull FC half would later post more points from the tee, kicking a penalty goal from bang in front of the sticks after the hour mark.

Newcastle had failed to make any impact in the first half through the first 30 minutes but found a spark with a dozen minutes to go.

Woods, who enjoyed a fine finish, kicked under the posts to win a drop-out, from which some lovely hands allowed the live-wire Craig Mullen to ground.

The missed conversion by Woods left York just four points ahead before the Knights eventually secured the points with four minutes left.

After Donaghy dropped a Harris kick, Tom Inman scampered out of dummy-half to score his first York try.

There remained time for one last Newcastle try, with Donaghy acrobatically diving over from a superb Mullen cut-out pass.

A late knock-on killed any hopes of a length-of-the-field equalising try.

Newcastle: Mullen, Boafo, Robson, Nokes, Donaghy, Bailey, Woods, J. Chapelhow, Eaves, T. Chapelhow, Gallagher, Ta’ai, Wilde.

Subs (all used): Clark, Moran, Anderson, McDermott.

Tries: Donaghy (8’, 79’), Wilde (20’), Mullen (70’)

Goals: Woods (1/4)

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

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

Tries: Glover (16’), O’Hagan (33’), Brown (51’), Inman (76’)

Goals: Harris (4/5)

York’s star man: Jordan Thompson. Worked tirelessly all game in the middle as his team-mates fell around him.

Referee: James Vella

Attendance: Not given

Penalties/Six-agains: 1-8

Goal-line drop-outs forced: 1-1