YORK Acorn ARLC's hopes of automatic promotion were severely dented when they were deservedly edged out 30-28 at home to relegation-threatened Saddleworth Rangers in National Conference League division one.

The Blue and Golds have lost on both occasions they have played the Oldham-based side this campaign, and on this occasion their discipline, ball control and edge defence wasn't good enough to claim a positive result.

Acorn started well at Thanet Road with two tries in the opening 15 minutes for an encouraging 10-0 lead. The first try came on eight minutes when solid running by props Adam Endersby and Tim Stubbs was complemented by a quick play the ball in their opponents' 20.

Second rower Tom Hill off-loaded to scrum-half and man of the match Lewis Brown, who darted over for an unconverted try.

On 14 minutes, impressive loose forward Tom Holder broke free of several would-be tacklers on a gutsy 30-metre run to the line for a try goaled by Antony Chilton.

However, then everything started to unravel for Acorn as lost possession and their completion rate dropped alarmingly. Poor discipline by Acorn resulted in a lopsided penalty count and eventually the referee sinbinned Woods for foul play on 30 minutes.

Saddleworth were quick to take advantage with a 33rd-minute unconverted try by full-back Gavin Dodd. A few minutes later the scores were level when Acorn were punished for forcing a pass close to the Saddleworth line and winger Jay Taylor intercepted to race 75 meters for a try goaled by scrum-half Josh Bradbury.

Acorn started the second half the better side and on 55 minutes Brown raced across the visitors' defence to find space out wide and notch his second try. Chilton added the extras to put Acorn 16-10 in front.

Then came two minutes of defensive frailties on Acorn's left edge that saw a 12-point turnaround in the visitors' favour.

On both occasions Saddleworth did nothing more than work the ball to their right winger and man of the match Sam Hart, who cut back to score two 35 metre tries in the 60th and 66nd minutes. Bradbury goaled both for a 22-16 lead.

Acorn regrouped and on 70 minutes they scored from close range through full-back Josh Parker. Chilton added the extras to level.

On 75 minutes the visitors scored a try out wide through sub Daniel Bowker and Bradbury converted.

Acorn looked to have salvaged their unbeaten home league record when a fine kick by Parker was touched down by winger Ryan Gallacher on 78 minutes. Chilton levelled with the kick.

But there was one final twist as Acorn were penalised for offside in their own 20 and Bradbury kicked an 80th minute penalty.

Next week Acorn travel to the division's form side, Stanningley, who are making a late surge for an automatic promotion spot with four games to go.