YORK City Knights boss James Ford insisted it was a point gained rather than a point lost after his side left Batley Bulldogs with a 14-14 draw.

The high-flying Knights, who were without suspended skipper Tim Spears and lost star forward Graeme Horne to a knee injury before half-time, trailed 6-0 in the first period and 14-6 in the second, before a converted try and a penalty inside the last 12 minutes levelled things up.

Batley probably had the better opportunities to create a drop-goal opening as the clock ticked down but neither side crafted another point in a harem scarem finale, Connor Robinson’s attempt at an unlikely 63-metre penalty after the final hooter falling short.

The Knights had been seeking victory to bolster their play-off push, although the one point was enough to keep them second in the Championship table with six games to go of a tight seven-team scrap for the top five.

Asked if he would have taken a draw before the game, Ford said: “No. Obviously we want to win every game. That’s the group of players we’ve got – they’re a very competitive side. It wouldn’t matter if we were playing Brisbane Broncos. We’d put a plan together and try to win.

“But two scores behind, and with only three interchanges in the second half (after losing Graeme Horne to injury) against a good side, I’d take a point.”

Asked if he rued his team’s missed chances, most notably when Robinson broke through in the first half but did not give Jordan Baldwinson a simple scoring pass, he added: “If you look at the games against Batley, they’ve all been pretty close. They’re very well-organised defensively. It was hard to get ruck speed and hard to create numbers. They do clever things with the full-back to put an extra defender in the line.

“They’re an intelligent side, so there weren’t going to be many chances.

“The ones we did get, we needed to take. Normally we do but this time we just managed not to.”

Batley are mid-table but York historically have an awful record on their ground. The three matches between the sides this year – Batley winning in pre-season and in the 1895 Cup, and York winning the reverse league fixture – have also all been close.

Ford added: “I like how Batley play. They’re hard to break down and they’re probably a bit bigger than us whereas we’re a bit more mobile than them. We knew it was going to be a close game, a real tight one.

“Ultimately we’ve had enough chances to win it – we had that two-v-one in the first half under the posts and somehow we’ve come up with the only option available that wouldn’t lead to a try.

“But that happens in games and in seasons. It (the match) could have got away from us. Our heads could have fallen off. But they didn’t. We showed some grit again and some character and hung in there, and we nearly got all the points at the end.

“We did that with no Tim Spears, no Graeme Horne, no Ben Cockayne (retired). The side on the field at that point was probably an under-22s or under-23s side, so for them to do that without those leaders, I’m really proud of them and of how they’re developing.”

He added: “Batley came at us with intensity and defended really well. They didn’t make many errors. It was a really good performance from Batley and we found ourselves behind in the second half, having lost Graeme Horne which really impacted on our interchanges.

“Some of the younger players, like Ronan Dixon and Marcus Stock, really stood up and reinforced their potential. I really believe in some of the younger players. They’re not at Graeme Horne’s level yet but they’ll get there.

“I’m delighted to have come here and got a point.”