IT just gets better and better for York City Knights fans.

Their team dropped out of the play-off places in the Championship on Friday after Sheffield leapfrogged them with victory over Rochdale.

But come the end of the weekend they were sitting prettier than ever, up to joint-second on points.

The Knights – backed by a sizeable travelling faithful at Heywood Road - enjoyed an excellent 26-12 victory away to a dangerous Swinton Lions side and, coupled with Toulouse’s defeat at leaders Toronto, it left them level on points with the Frenchmen and fellow high-fliers Leigh Centurions.

To make things better, news then filtered through of Featherstone’s shock home defeat to Barrow, leaving Rovers, as well as Sheffield, two points in arrears in the race for the top five. Bradford are a further two points behind, with nine games to go.

Swinton might be in the bottom half but, as evidenced by their shock victory at Toulouse last week, they are a better side than that placing suggests, certainly with ball in hand, with their varying lines of attack a constant threat.

But York’s defence – full of focus from one to 17 - was almost watertight until conceding twice in the last eight minutes with the game already won.

It could have been a different scoreline in the end, with both sides having two tries ruled out by referee Mike Mannifield. The game looked in the balance, too, with York ahead on the scoreboard but Swinton perhaps in the ascendancy. But Ford’s men pulled away with three converted tries in 10 minutes for a decisive 26-point lead with 12 minutes left.

Ford had made two changes to the side that handsomely saw off hapless Rochdale seven days earlier.

Teenager Cameron Scott, in on loan from Hull, made his debut at centre in place of Junior Vaivai, whose loan from Hull KR ended, while Jordan Baldwinson, fit again after six weeks out with a knee injury, replaced Tyler Dupree as an interchange prop.

Scott, formerly the England Academy captain, was given the nod ahead of Brad Hey – and justified it with a performance that belied his tender years, including the game’s opening try.

New Swinton signing Scott Moore, the former England hooker, made his Lions bow off the bench, having joined in midweek from Rochdale in a swap deal for Kyle Shelford. Ironically his last game for the Hornets was against York last week.

The hosts had four dual-reg/loan players from Wigan, in centre Craig Mullen and packmen Jack Wells, Liam Byrne and big Samy Kibula.

Mullen thought he had given Swinton a ninth-minute lead as he raced onto an angled grubber kick but Knights winger Perry Whiteley was adjudged to have got to the touchdown a fraction earlier.

Another repeat set immediately followed, this time Jason Bass covering a kick, and a penalty made it four back-to-back sets.

But York survived as a quick pass, which gave home winger Mike Butt a sniff of the line, was called forward.

Instead it was the Knights who took the lead – through new boy Scott, with a great finish out wide from a pass by namesake Sam Scott.

Connor Robinson had tried a long cut-out pass to Whiteley but the left-winger had to come inside and was halted. Nevertheless this brought defenders inside too and opened a little space for the centre who by now was hugging the touchline.

It should soon have been 10-0 as Robinson dummied and jinked in. However, Mannifield spotted an obstruction nobody else saw and the try was ruled out.

Swinton, already looking a threat, were aided when, upon a blatant fumble, the officials penalised York for reefing.

However, Mannifield then angered the home fans when ruling out Mullen’s try that followed, again for obstruction.

Another penalty for obstruction – this one much clearer than the others – then gave Robinson chance to make it 6-0 with a two-pointer from 20 metres out.

Mannifield continued to annoy both sets of supporters but the players pressed on in an even contest which, when allowed, flowed to and fro.

It was unsurprisingly a penalty that led to the next score – Frankie Halton with an unnecessary foul on Marcus Stock, which saw Robinson boot the goal from 40 metres to make it 8-0 on 37 minutes.

There was still time for another dubious decision before half-time as Ronan Dixon was adjudged to have fumbled in a ruck when a penalty for reefing could have been given. But the Knights survived.

They had a close scare on the resumption too when, from a kick, Matty Ashton was denied what appeared to be a certain touchdown by some brilliant last-gasp cover from Liam Harris, the ball being forced loose.

The Lions still got a penalty for obstruction from the kick but again York’s defence was up to the mark.

Mannifield returned to the fore when ruling out another Robinson try for obstruction when the scrum-half had again dummied into a gap.

Sam Scott, seemingly flabbergasted at being deemed the guilty party, simply walked away laughing.

The officials missed a forward pass in the Lions’ next attack but a great big bear hug tackle from Whiteley forced the error.

The Lions, with the busy Kibula a force to be reckoned with, continued to press, a kick forcing a dropout. Some smart work by Bass won the ball back close to his own line, but the hosts were at it again in no time, testing York’s defence with their shifts and angles of attack.

This time Mannifield ruled in York’s favour, deeming Mike Butt had knocked on in the act of touching down following a challenge under a kick.

This proved a game-changer as York, having been under the cosh, then went up the other end and extended their lead just before the hour-mark – the first of three quickfire tries that put Ford’s team in the clear.

Sub hooker Andy Ellis was held up over the whitewash but the Knights won a dropout and soon Stock crashed over from a short Ellis pass.

A bulldozing Sam Scott run set the platform for the next score. The Lions cocked up a short dropout, giving the visitors a penalty, and prop Graeme Horne soon dug over after going in at dummy-half.

It then became 26-0 on the back of a great break down the inside left by Cam Scott.

The youngster lost a boot in the process but it was retrieved for him by fellow centre Liam Salter – with karma smiling on the former Hull KR star as he got on the end of the scoring pass over on the right.

York were denied a second successive clean sheet with eight minutes to go as Jack Hansen combined brilliantly with Wells before popping up a scoring pass for full-back Matty Ashton.

A second home try followed as the clock ticked down, hooker Luke Waterworth going over from a close-range penalty, Hansen goaling both.

But it was too little too late, with York fans, in fine voice throughout, duly saluting the victors.