SHEFFIELD Eagles boss Mark Aston admits his side made hard work of their 32-16 victory at York Knights in the Fourth Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

It was third time lucky for the Eagles as they finally overcame Andrew Henderson’s side at the LNER Community Stadium, 10 months on from their 24-22 defeat at this stage of last year’s Challenge Cup competition.

Brenden Santi had given the hosts a fifth-minute lead after bursting through the Eagles defence, but that was inevitably cancelled out by ex-Knight Matty Marsh, who marked his return to the city with a try shortly after.

That set the tone for a fiercely competitive opening half, with Jordan Thompson, Jesse Dee and Kris Welham all sent to the sin-bin by Liam Rush before Will Dagger was dismissed for an alleged headbutt as the match descended into chaos minutes before the break.


Thompson was then sin-binned for a second time, seeing the Knights close out the first half with just 11 players on the pitch.

But despite a bright start to the second half, Sheffield made their man advantage count, with Eddie Battye adding his name to the scoresheet before former Knights Ben Jones-Bishop and Anthony Thackeray found the whitewash late on to seal their place in the Fifth Round.

Although his side had played 11 men for 20 minutes and 12 for the majority of the second half, Aston believes that his side made hard work of the tie.

“I thought it was hard work,” he told the Eagles' media team.

“The boys, their attitude was outstanding. I thought we showed a lot of commitment and a lot of toughness to hang in there.

“It was tough to watch. We’re not where I want us to be, but it’s just about winning and getting through to the next round in Cups like this.

“We showed a little bit more resolve, which I’m pleased with, but some of the little things that we did in the first bit were nice, we just couldn’t get that full 80 minutes kind of stuff.

"But the sooner the better, because it was hard work.”