YORK City Knights boss James Ford has intimated his side are still gunning for a play-off spot - despite their Summer Bash-ing by Featherstone Rovers.

The Knights lost 42-10 during the weekend’s Betfred Championship extravaganza in Blackpool, their second heavy defeat to Rovers in a month following the 42-12 reverse at Post Office Road at Easter.

Ford lamented an error-strewn 28 minutes, beginning just before the break, in which the impressive Flatcappers scored seven of their eight tries, the first having come midway through the first half via a long-range interception while York were in the ascendancy.

But his team still remain in the top five, above Rovers, at the midway point of the season and they remain “mad keen to kick on” and complete an "amazing" season.

Asked if there were positives from the game, Ford said: “There were lots. For 30 minutes it’s been a really enthralling arm wrestle between two quality sides.

“Featherstone shaded it on the back of an intercept. We’ve had a chance through Matty Marsh and a chance through Kevin Brown. When we’re on our day, we take those.

“If Dane Chisholm mistimes that intercept or we come up with a better option, we could have gone in 18-0 up, but we didn’t.

“I saw a side, even when the game was gone, that stuck together, rallied round and scored two tries and had one ruled out. There was some resilience, character and belief there.

“We’re not done this year. I’m sure the boys will be hurting, we’re hurting, the supporters will be hurting.

“But we’ve got 13 games left and you never know, we could pinch fifth spot. If we do that then it’s been an absolutely amazing season.

“The boys are mad keen to kick on and fulfil their ambitions and we’ll do our very best.”

Two Rovers tries in three minutes before half-time left York with a hill to climb in the second period and mistakes and penalties in the third quarter saw the game go away from them.

Ford said: “The first 30 minutes were high quality. The game has tipped in Featherstone’s favour on an intercept. They had a couple of chances, we had a couple of chances. It wouldn’t have been against the run of play for us to have been ahead at that point.

“But before half-time, there were one or two daft penalties and we just missed our detail in defence and Dane Chisholm punished us. An inside step – we’ve ID’d it, we know it’s coming, we just didn’t deal with it.

“It wasn’t for a lack of effort. We spoke (at half-time) about what we needed to do but we just weren’t good enough for the first 15-20 minutes. We kicked the ball out on the full, we kicked it dead, our outside-backs came up with a couple of soft errors early in the tackle count, and when we actually got our detail right and put them in a corner, we found a way to give a penalty away.

“Last year (in League One) we would have got away with it. We’ve all seen York defend six, seven, eight, nine, even 10 sets in our own 20 and go up the other end and score. But Featherstone are a different kettle of fish to what we played against then.

“If we’re playing against sides with lots of Super League experience and lots of ability, they will punish us.

“For us to beat sides like Featherstone, we need to be at ’10 out of 10’ level. We weren’t and it showed.

“We had the ball for only five sets in 25 minutes and we didn’t do a lot with it. We came up with errors, and we compounded those errors with penalties and defensive misses.

“They’re a quality side and, if you give them opportunities like that, they’re going to punish you.”

Asked if there was a lot to fix up for next weekend’s trip to Widnes, Ford said: “The first 30 minutes I was reasonably happy with. Featherstone defended incredibly well but the game was certainly in the balance.

“In the last 15 minutes I thought we were good. It was just the middle third where we’ve dropped off and our detail has been poor, and they punished us.”

Asked about Rovers’ superior prowess in attack in that period, Ford reasoned: “How we set up to play isn’t that dissimilar to Featherstone but when you have the ball for 15 sets out of 20 sets, you’re going to look hot with the ball because the other side are going to be blowing after all the defending they’ve been doing.

“We just need to rectify that middle 30 minutes. If we can do that, I’m confident we can compete against sides like Featherstone. We have done previously.

“I said to the boys, ‘When we win we’re together and when we lose we’re together.’

"We’re all to blame, the coaching staff mostly. We’re responsible. And we’re all striving to be better.”