YORK Knights head coach Andrew Henderson believes that his side got nothing less than they deserved as they were defeated 32-16 by Sheffield Eagles in the Fourth Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

It was a hapless afternoon for the Knights, who had to play over half of the match with 12 men after Will Dagger’s moment of recklessness saw him dismissed on his home debut for an alleged headbutt after he had been bundled into touch five minutes before the break.

At times, York even found themselves down to 11, with Jordan Thompson and centre Jesse Dee both spending time in the sin-bin during a first half in which their discipline seemed to go out of the window.

“We’re not here to make excuses,” Henderson conceded. “At the end of the day, we were our own worst enemies I thought.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen in a while where we really lacked composure and discipline as a group.”

It took just five minutes for the Knights to break the deadlock when Brenden Santi broke through a gap in the Sheffield defence to touch down just to the left of the posts, but after seeing themselves pegged back through ex-Knight Matty Marsh, their ill-discipline soon reared its ugly head.

Thompson and Dee were sin-binned within minutes of each other shortly before the 20-minute mark, and the former for a second time in the aftermath of Dagger’s dismissal to leave them with just 11 men on the pitch by the half-time hooter.

Henderson admits that his side were left rattled, but that there was no single person to blame for their mistakes.

“I thought that we started the game really well,” he explained. “I thought we came out, defensively we were on top and we earned the right to be six points up.

“But then it was almost like something switched and we just compounded ourselves with penalties and errors consecutively, which then gave Sheffield some field position and some opportunities, which they capitalised on.

“And then it was like we lost our heads. We just got rattled.

“We got sucked into whatever was being said out there on the field – I don’t know whether Sheffield were chirping at the boys and we got drawn into it – but we let the emotion get the better of us I feel today as a group, which was a little bit disappointing to see.

“There’s no one person to blame. There’s a lot of individual players out there that made some poor decisions, whether that was defensively or with the ball.”

With the officials noticeably tighter in their enforcement of the sport’s rules this season, Henderson was disappointed to see his side concede so many errors but was pleased with how they grouped together to push through their circumstances.

“We’ve been working on things like that, about playing the ball right and having your marker square.

“I know Sheffield were guilty of it too, they got pinged a lot of times as well for some of those misdemeanours, but it was always going to be a tough challenge for us.

“We predominantly played the game with 12 men, I think for about 55 minutes with 12 men after having Will Dagger sent off, and 20 minutes we played with 11 men.

“I won’t take anything away from the effort from the players in terms of the way that they dug deep and hung in there for each other. I saw a team there today that really dug deep in trying circumstances.

“But ultimately, a lot of it was self-inflicted. There was no-one else to blame but ourselves and we deserved what we got.”