“INCREDIBLY disappointed” head coach James Ford blasted a below-par display from his York City Knights side – even though they won 24-18 and now stand alone in third place in the Betfred Championship.

The Knights led bottom-of-the-table Rochdale Hornets 18-6 and 24-12 but in the end had to hold on for victory after gifting their lowly hosts plenty of possession and territory.

They suffered blows before and during the game, too, with Ronan Dixon withdrawing in the warm-up and fellow prop Jordan Baldwinson exiting early on, both with knee injuries.

This was the only Championship match this weekend and the result saw the Knights leapfrog Sheffield and Leigh, but Ford said: “We had opportunities to put the game to bed - but we were hanging on and they were unlucky not to get something from the game.”

Asked if it was a “scruffy” showing, he said: “You could describe it as scruffy.

“I’m just incredibly disappointed. A number of individuals are really disappointed, they’ve disappointed each other, as a team we’ve disappointed.

“There’s lots of improving to do because if that’s the level we’re at, we’re in for a tough time next week against Featherstone.”

On the errors the team came up with, Ford said: “We could speak all day about the things we did wrong.

“I’m incredibly disappointed with a large portion of that 17. I’m gutted they produced that performance.

“But ultimately we’ve won and got two more league points.”

Asked about the positives of rising to third in the table, Ford said: “We were an inch away from being second if we had got the result in Toulouse that we deserved.

“But that doesn’t take anything away from the levels we produced here. It was so disappointing. Anything that we aspire to be and talk about in training, we were miles off.

“We were that far off I have suspicions half of us were still in York.

“It was so far off it’s unbelievable.

“The only positive thing is we get to play on Saturday. We need a response because Featherstone are a top side - they’re a top-three side, they're big, powerful, skilful.

“Their performance at Post Office Road was probably the best performance against us this season.

“It’s an opportunity to go there (the Summer Bash in Blackpool) and produce a performance. Hopefully we can start rectifying some of the wrongs that we produced here.”

York played 70 minutes with only two out-and-out props after Dixon and new signing Baldwinson's exits.

Ford said: “There was some adversity – kick-off going back (15 minutes) because Rochdale couldn’t organise a cameraman to be on time, turning sprinklers on during the warm-up.

“But there’s no excuse for what we produced. It was incredibly disappointing.

“I know the supporters will be disappointed, gutted. They’ve worked all week and were excited about coming across. I feel we have let them down.”

Ford added the fans had helped the team get over the line.

“I want to applaud the supporters,” he said. “They came across again in good numbers and got behind us.

“We probably wouldn’t have won that game if they had not been here and played an active role.

“Given some of the things we produced, they could have turned against us. I’ve played for other clubs when, if you produce a performance like that, supporters do turn against you.

“But they stuck with us and that was important.”

Asked if he took any positives for his team, Ford said: “We’ve got two points and gone third.

“There were one or two half-decent individual efforts, but they were followed up by errors.

“We found ways to gift Rochdale opportunities.

“We put a lot into everything in terms of our training, but I’m just gutted we produced that level of performance.

“I’ve not seen us that off since I’ve been in charge.

“But I don’t want to take anything away from Rochdale. They’re doing it tough at the minute. Matt (Calland, new coach) has brought in some new players, some young players, and he will be gutted they’ve not won but pleased they hung in there. If they had pinched something out of that game, I could not have complained.”