IT might be called Mount Pleasant but Batley Bulldogs’ ground has never been a particularly happy venue for York City Knights – fans wracking their collective brains in vain to remember the last time York had won here.

The omens weren’t overly great for this year either, despite the Knights’ stunning high-flying form, with Batley beating them here in pre-season and also winning the 1895 Cup tie between the clubs late last month courtesy of a golden point drop goal in extra time, albeit against a largely fringe team.

York did, however, win the Championship fixture at Bootham Crescent in May, withstanding a Bulldogs comeback, and they went into this one as favourites.

In the end, the hoodoo both ended and continued, as James Ford’s men avoided defeat but were also unable to notch a victory, a ding-dong affair ending 14-14 after a Knights comeback from 14-6 down and a bonkers finale.

Ford looked exasperated after it all, but was adamant it was a point gained not lost, especially given they had been two scores behind with 12 minutes to go.

Furthermore, they had been without captain Tim Spears, who was serving his unfortunate one-match ban (given for accidental ‘contact with the referee’ recently), and lost fellow leader Graeme Horne to injury in the first half, the remaining 16 having an average age under 25.

Ford had also left Sam Scott out, choosing to stick with Josh Jordan-Roberts and Liam Salter in the second-row.

Elsewhere, the in-form Marcus Stock moved into Spears’ loose-forward stead and Ronan Dixon came onto the bench as replacement prop.

Fit-again Matty Marsh was also back at full-back, with Jason Bass reverting to the wing. Will Oakes, like Bass a try-scorer in last week’s fine win at Sheffield, was out.

Batley were still without veteran half-back Dom Brambani but they did have French star Louis Jouffret, the match-winner in the cup tie 18 days ago.

York played up the infamous hill in a first half – and fell behind just when it looked like they were getting on top in the early arm wrestle, the deadlock being broken by a brilliant solo try from inside his own half by on-loan Leeds centre Jack Broadbent. Jouffret converted.

The hosts erred under the restart, then a grubber by Liam Harris nearly brought an equalising try only for home full-back Dave Scott to pip Brad Hey to the touchdown. Jordan-Roberts was also held up over the try-line, before another Harris kick in goal brought a third repeat set.

However, sub prop Horne overplayed and, as Batley counter-attacked, it needed a fine Will Jubb tackle to stop Dave Scott racing away. Horne didn’t last much longer.

The hosts went close to doubling their lead as a reverse kick by Jouffret seemed to be bouncing the way of half-back partner Danny Yates only for Marsh to nip in and come out with the ball.

The bounce went against York soon after when a brilliant 40-20 attempt by Connor Robinson clipped the flag on the goal-line on its way out.

York should have equalised on 34 minutes on the back of a break out of defence by Cam Scott – the centre being chased down by the super-rapid Jouffret. At the end of the set, Robinson superbly jinked close but held onto the ball when Jordan Baldwinson would have had a tap-in.

York finally got on the scoreboard a minute before half-time after Dave Scott dropped a Robinson bomb and Sam Wood was then offside.

The Knights could have gone for a try but, assuming they would have more opportunities going down the slope in the second half, Robinson took the two points on offer to make it 6-2 at half-time.

Both sides had a half-back sin-binned early on the restart, Robinson and Yates punished for a bit of nonsense behind the sticks after the York man shepherded a kick behind.

Referee Scott Mikalauskas was soon to the fore again as he deemed Perry Whiteley had knocked on in his own 10 when the Knights winger could have been given a penalty for interference at the play-the-ball.

Mikalauskas evened things up, though, when ruling out Wood’s try in the corner for a forward pass by Sam Smeaton.

Batley, nevertheless, were playing the slope well, and York needed some fortune to get their first try of the game – Jouffret being harshly penalised after stealing the ball from Hey.

From the free-kick downfield, York spread the ball left where Cam Scott, despite being tackled by three or four defenders, somehow grounded the ball.

The visitors could have expected to kick on but their joy was short-lived.

An offload by big James Brown took three defenders out of the game, Broadbent’s pace took him clear and Jouffret was one of few players to keep up, to take the scoring inside pass and convert.

Jouffret then booted a 42-metre penalty conceded by Jack Blagbrough to put the Bulldogs two scores up, and leave the Knights needing inspiration from somewhere.

They were back in it with 12 minutes left following a high tackle on Jason Bass by Brown.

From the penalty, Robinson’s pass saw Jordan-Roberts cross, with the former converting to cut the gap to 14-12.

Another penalty soon followed as York attacked again, and Robinson levelled the scores with eight to go.

A harem scarem finale ensued as both sides sought in vain for a drop-goal opening. Jack Teanby, so good in his first stint, twice fumbled in hit-ups and Brown had a home winner ruled out for a knock-on.

There was drama on the hooter, too, as Batley were caught offside while in possession, with Robinson going for a near-impossible 63-metre penalty rather than finding touch and having one tackle to find a winner.

But it wasn’t to be and the points, probably fairly, were shared.