WELL how about that.

It looked like York City Knights were heading head first towards a second successive defeat at the start of the season, trailing 16-0 to Dewsbury Rams 55 minutes into the game at Tetley’s Stadium.

Following the 14-0 loss to Toronto, that left them still without a point in 135 minutes of Betfred Championship rugby.

But then something clicked.

Tries by man-of-the-match Graeme Horne, Ash Robson and Josh Jordan-Roberts, all created and converted by Connor Robinson, put them 18-16 up in a stunning 10-minute salvo.

Dewsbury regathered themselves and retook the lead on 72 minutes, and again that could have been that.

But, as they showed throughout their League One title-winning season, this York team are made of strong stuff and in one late hurrah, Matty Marsh stormed out of nowhere to touch down a Ben Cockayne grubber - the spoils now heading back to the Minster city, sealed at 26-22 by a penalty goal on the final hooter.

The Knights had huffed and puffed throughout the first half without looking able to break through the home defence on this narrow pitch. And, when Paul Sykes’ second penalty stretched the home lead to 16-0 after 49 minutes, they could have easily capitulated.

But, having won so many games by four points or less last term, they did it again here. And from losing positions to boot.

Any concerns about getting off the mark in the higher tier were already allayed – and how.

The Knights had comfortably beaten Dewsbury 34-0 in their last game of pre-season but the Rams fielded largely a young team that day and this was always going to be a tougher test.

Their game at Rochdale last week was postponed due to snow, though, so this was their first competitive outing under new boss Lee Greenwood. Was fitness a factor in the last quarter?

Ford as reported made only one change to the side that pushed Toronto, with Marcus Stock replacing Dave Petersen in the 17 – the former Hemel packman making his debut off the bench with Graeme Horne starting in Petersen’s stead at loose-forward.

Dewsbury showed nine changes to that last game of pre-season, with all their big guns back barring ace hooker Robbie Ward.

They included veteran schemer Paul Sykes, fellow half-back Simon Brown, who had one - largely below-par - season at York in 2013, and powerful backs Adam Ryder, Dale Morton and Alex Brown, along with packmen Michael Knowles, Jordan Andrade and Chris Annakin. 

They also had young Super League loanees in the tall Owen Harrison from Hull KR and Callum Field from Wigan.

The hosts opened the scoring early on the back of an apparent blunder by referee Mike Mannifield - handing Dewsbury an attacking scrum when York full-back Marsh had seemingly played the bouncing ball with his feet, not his hands, before diving on it.

York’s goal-line defence was not nearly as good as last week as Sam Day dug over from dummy-half, Sykes adding his first of three conversions.

York, wearing their pristine new bright white away strip, tried to hit back. Two penalties and a dropout had them briefly in the ascendancy, with Marsh denied by a good goal-line tackle in between times, but Ronan Dixon’s fumble in the next hit-up curtailed the pressure.

In their next attack, Connor Robinson thought he had jinked over but Jack Teanby – the former Dewsbury prop – was penalised for obstruction.

Instead, the Rams went up the other end and hooker Day scored again – this time chasing his own grubber and beating Marsh and Robinson to the touchdown.

York again built pressure but the Rams’ goal-line defence on this narrow pitch was most stoic, and the hosts upped their lead to 14-0 via a Sykes penalty goal. That came from a fifth consecutive free-kick which included one incident being put on report and ended with York on a team warning.

The Knights gave little clues as to what was to come as they again threatened, forcing another dropout, but Robinson’s long scoring pass to winger Perry Whiteley was forward – a second disallowed try.

Their next attack was curtailed by the narrow pitch – Whiteley with little option but to put a foot in touch.

Then they went too wide again, Brad Hey tackled into touch.

It seemed it would not be the Knights’ day. They had had their fair share of possession and territory but it was the Rams who had turned theirs into points.

Dewsbury should have increased their lead six minutes into the second half, too, as full-back Morton dummied and went to the short side metres out, but Dan Igbinedion knocked on at the line under pressure from Hey.

They did soon add to their lead, though, with that Sykes penalty.

Home fans sat back, thinking that was that. The promoted upstarts were seen off.

But no. Then it all turned.

Decent defence forced a turnover as the Rams attacked again and a penalty took play upfield.

Robinson’s little pass then put Horne over.

Three minutes later, after their best attack of the match, Robinson kicked cross-field to the right corner where home winger Alex Brown made a hash of it and Ash Robson had a simple finish.

They were so nearly level – having a third try ruled out.

Rob Worrincy dropped a Robinson kick on his own line and in the mess that followed Whiteley touched down but Jordan-Roberts had knocked on.

But then they were ahead. Rams loose-forward Kyle Trout was sin-binned – the result of persistent fouling – and, with the gaps having already started showing, Robinson put Jordan-Roberts home, the conversion putting York 18-16 up.

Whiteley nearly extended it – Robinson’s grubber kick just too long.

Then Dewsbury were back ahead against the run of play. They bought a penalty off Mannifield and the attack ended with big Tom Garratt crashing over, Sykes’ conversion making it 22-18 with less than eight minutes left.

York could have been shot, especially with the hosts back up to 13.

But no. They won a penalty and, just when it looked like the opening had gone, Cockayne slotted in a little grubber kick and Marsh shot onto it to touch down.

The scores were level and Robinson knocked over the conversion.

The Rams had one last chance but it was repelled and Trout gave away a foolish penalty 40 metres out with a tip-tackle on Jason Bass, Robinson booting the two points on the hooter.