A DEVASTATING seven-try salvo in 20 minutes after half-time not only ended all hope of York City Knights pulling off a remarkable shock win in Canada but left them on the end of a 64-22 beating.

The Knights, despite being much-depleted and deprived of sleep, had surprisingly led moneybag hosts Toronto Wolfpack 12-6 after half an hour at the Lamport Stadium thanks to tries by Liam Harris and Dee Foggin-Johnston. They were still in the game at 20-12 down at the interval, too.

But the Wolfpack, who have mauled everyone in League One thus far, then showed their teeth and launched a ferocious attack, James Ford’s tiring troops being ravaged all over the pitch during the third quarter. Former Wakefield winger Liam Kay ended with five tries in 16 minutes either side of the break.

To their credit, York not only muzzled their hosts but won the last quarter, with Foggin-Johnston himself ending the evening with his first hat-trick in Knights colours, to give the noisy transatlantic travelling faithful something to cheer.

However, the final result was still cruel and left the Minster city boys, fourth in the table, in danger of slipping two places in the standings later today, with two games left before the Super 8s split.

The Knights had been on a hiding to nothing really against the full-time big boys.

They were without talismanic middle trio Tim Spears, Andy Ellis and Adam Robinson plus veteran winger Tommy Saxton and in-form hooker Harry Carter. Young centre Adam Swift was thrown in at the deep end for his debut - and didn't look out of place.

Furthermore, as Ford had complained, his team were always going to be playing the game jetlagged having landed over the Atlantic just one day earlier with the game kicking off at 7pm local time but midnight according to their body clocks.

His team nevertheless began bravely.

Dual-reg hooker Will Jubb needed treatment after a bang in the chops in a thumping tackle and Chris Siddons, starting at loose-forward, had to go off for a head injury assessment after a late hit by rugby league cult hero Fuifui Moimoi, the former Parramatta Eels and New Zealand prop.

Great defence from Foggin-Johnston had earlier caused Jonny Pownall to spill the ball when eyeing the try-line.

Indeed, York's enthusiasm caused Toronto into a raft of errors. From one, Joe Batchelor picked up a loose ball and touched down, only for referee John McMullen to rule Connor Robinson had committed a foul in the preceding ruck.

The Knights also twice passed up penalty shots at goal and instead it was Toronto who took the lead, albeit not until the 24-minute mark when veteran Ireland hooker Bob Beswick scooted in from close range.

Craig Hall, the former Hull and Hull KR centre, kicked his first of eight conversions.

Then came the shock.

Stand-off Harris, back on dual-reg after making his Hull KR last week, sped home on a 40-metre interception score after picking off a Hall pass, with Robinson’s goal bringing parity.

Then three minutes later, the Knights kept the ball alive after a lovely Harris chip - Batchelor latching onto it and offloading to Harris who put winger Foggin-Johnston in to score. Robinson’s goal made it 12-6.

The visitors’ lead was immediately wiped out, though, with two tries in as many minutes from Pownall and Kay, the latter via a bit of fortune after a kick had landed in home hands.

Then Kay quickly got his second just before half-time to make it 20-12 - this one particularly harsh on York as James Haynes had sent Foggin-Johnston off on a counterattack only for the referee to blow for offside.

At the other end Batchelor was denied a try by an ankle tap by full-back Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e after another breakaway.

All this was made immaterial after half-time, though, as Toronto - playing in a one-off red and white strip, the national colours, to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in front of fireworks and a crowd of 5,646 - set off their own pyrotechnics.

Indeed, Ford’s men - having gained plenty of plaudits before the interval, with home fans declaring it the most competitive half they had seen all season against their team - barely touched the ball, barring restart kicks, as the powerful Wolfpack ran riot in 20 blistering minutes.

Kay got a nine-minute hat-trick to take his tally to five, although there was a suspicion he pulled Ash Robson back off the ball for the one of them. His fifth try was created by a cutout pass by sub half-back Rhys Jacks - Toronto's sole Canadian player in the 17.

In between times Pownall got his second try after some neat play on the right edge, while veteran hooker Sean Penckywicz got in on the act, Jack Bussey strolled over and Hall handed out further punishment.

Those scores made it 58-12 by the hour mark and it got worse when Batchelor could not clean up a kick and Samoan star Laulu-Togaga’e made him pay.

York, though, dug in, a cracking chase from an accurate Robinson kick trapping Laulu-Togaga’e in goal to force a dropout, before two tries in the last five minutes gave the scoreline more of the credibility the team’s efforts in adversity deserved.

The first came on a free play following sloppy Toronto handling, Batchelor's cheeky kick being gathered by Foggin-Johnston who saw a route to the whitewash, Robinson goaling.

Wonderful free-flowing rugby out of defence then took York upfield again, where the Batchelor-DFJ combination worked once more - the second-row, with another kick off the cuff, giving the winger his hat-trick.