YORK City Knights’ super run of Championship wins had to end at some point and it did so with a 24-16 defeat at home to fellow high-fliers Sheffield Eagles.

The game could have gone the other way. York had no fewer than three tries disallowed and Sheffield scored two which on another day could have been pulled back for an earlier fumble and forward pass.

But in truth this was not the Knights at their finest and, against another buoyant team who have found a winning habit this season, they could not pull this one out of the fire.

They seemed to lack the effervescence of recent weeks and, after a solid but unspectacular opening, mistakes crept in which regularly killed any momentum.

This was summed up late on when two tries which gave them a sniff of a comeback victory were each followed by errors on the restart which allowed the Eagles to themselves notch points.

How they bounce back will be a test head coach James Ford has not had to face all too often in the past year or so.

Indeed, this was only their third league defeat at Bootham Crescent since the opening day of the 2018 season. It was only their second defeat anywhere since May last year. Next up is a Challenge Cup trip to Barrow - where they haven't won since 2004.

Ford had made four changes to the side that beat Halifax so handsomely, three in the back line.

Brad Hey was recalled in place of last week’s emergency centre, Josh Jordan-Roberts, while fit-again Perry Whiteley replaced the injured Jason Bass on one wing, and new loan recruit Conor McGrath replaced Judah Mazive on the other - scoring a debut try, too, albeit in a mixed display.

Will Jubb was a natural replacement at hooker for the crocked Harry Carter.

Ford also switched his starting and replacement props from last week.

Sheffield made two changes as expected to the side that enjoyed a last-gasp win over Dewsbury last week, boss Mark Aston making immediate use of their new dual-reg agreement with London Broncos by bringing in Scotland international Ben Hellewell, once a Knights loanee, and Sadiq Adebiyi.

They replaced crocked centre Jason Crookes and prop Blake Broadbent - son of former Sheffield legend and Knights player-coach Paul - who began a two-match ban.

Half-back Anthony Thackeray - a former team-mate of Ford at Widnes and York - was another ex-Knight on show, having become Sheffield's marquee signing over the winter. It was he who came up with a couple of killer plays.

Another ex-Knight was replacement prop Rory Dixon, who got few first-team chances at York last season before making the winter switch from North to South Yorkshire.

The Knights had an immediate attacking set after Eagles winger Ryan Millar dropped a Connor Robinson kick as new boy McGrath closed in. They finished with a similar move to that which saw Sam Scott blast over against Halifax but this time he was halted.

It was otherwise a cagey opening with few mistakes but little tempo or threat.

The first penalty came midway through the half, York going close from it when Jubb claimed a try but was deemed held up.

Sheffield’s first two free-kicks soon followed but, while they got nothing from their first attacking set of the game, they scored from their next, which came on the back of York’s first handling error, sub prop Jack Blagbrough at fault in centre-field.

Thackeray dropped the ball but referee Jack Smith deemed it went backwards. It then went left where McGrath was caught out of position by Josh Guzdek’s offload, giving Millar an easy finish in the corner.

It didn’t look like it was going to be York’s day when sub hooker Kriss Brining inexplicably knocked-on close to the line at the other end.

However, on one of the few occasions they expanded, they took the lead.

Marsh joined the line and fed Liam Salter. He gave McGrath a half-chance and, when the winger realised he wasn’t going to score, his quick pass back inside was superbly taken low down by Salter, who scored.

Robinson curled in a delightful conversion for a 6-4 interval lead, the hooter cutting short York’s next raid.

The sides traded handling errors on the resumption before a Brining charge – like the Brining of old – set up the position from which York forced a drop-out.

McGrath thought he had scored in the far corner when diving onto a grubber but as the players began celebrating, ref Smith pointed for a 20-metre restart, deeming the ball had gone dead. It wasn’t going to be the Knights’ day.

Again the sides traded mistakes but when McGrath gave away a penalty near half-way, the Eagles got it together.

Hey pulled off a try-saver on one flank but when the ball was kicked left, James Glover beat McGrath in the air and rolled out of another tackle to touch down. Pat Walker converted.

Sheffield erred on the restart and Marsh thought he had scored when touching down his own bobbling grubber, but Smith deemed he knocked on.

It really wasn’t going to be the Knights’ day.

Sheffield quickly extended their lead. With home fans still shouting a forward pass, Thackeray beautifully opened a door for Hellewell to stroll home. Walker converted and it was 16-6.

York haven’t found themselves in a losing position at home very often in the past year. They needed something out of nothing.

They could have got it on the back of a Jack Teanby charge but a wild Graeme Horne pass went forward.

They got another chance when Millar dropped another Robinson kick and this time Jubb shot in from dummy-half, Robinson converting. Thackeray could easily have been yellow-carded for a professional foul just before the try, too.

However the restart bounced high and out and a penalty followed, Walker goaling it for an 18-12 lead.

It was game on again after Scott superbly won the short restart, to cap a man-of-the-match display, with the attack ending with Salter’s quick hands putting McGrath in.

But Robinson could not convert from the right flank against the breeze.

Moreover this restart was allowed to bounce back Sheffield’s way and Thackeray again slipped Hellewell into a big gap for a converted try that sealed victory.