YORK Knights boss Andrew Henderson had no complaints about his side’s efforts, despite missing out on a trip to Wembley for the second successive season.

But he insisted that their lethargic starts must improve if they are to return to winning ways.

The Knights were defeated 28-18 by Sheffield Eagles in their AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi final at the LNER Community Stadium, but produced a performance worlds away from last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Whitehaven.

Henderson’s side though were again slow out of the blocks, with Matty Dawson-Jones, James Glover and Matty Marsh all scoring within the opening quarter of an hour.

Tries from Charlie Severs and Tom Lineham cut the gap to four by the break, with prop Jack Teanby doing so again after ex-Knight Marsh had scored his second shortly after the interval.

But in the end, York’s ill-discipline came back to bite them, Cory Aston adding three late penalties to the scoreboard to secure his side’s spot against Wakefield Trinity in the final at Wembley on June 8.

York Press: Tom Lineham was among the Knights' scorers, but a slow start and a trio of late penalties saw them slip to defeat.Tom Lineham was among the Knights' scorers, but a slow start and a trio of late penalties saw them slip to defeat. (Image: Alan Milner/Milner Creative/York RLFC)

Whilst the Knights were met with jeers at half-time against Whitehaven, supporters were on their feet yesterday afternoon in testament to a side that still have fight left in them, despite a dismal start to the campaign.

And Henderson admitted he could not fault his side’s efforts on a scorching day in North Yorkshire.

He explained: “Obviously, it was one of the things we asked for off the back of last week.

“We recognised that our effort areas were not good enough, it wasn’t what we represent. So that was a big focus this week, and getting back to our identity. We’re very much an effort-based team.

“We needed to see that today and I thought that we saw that for large parts of the game.”

Read next:

A slow start has become somewhat of a characteristic of the Knights as of late, with head-starts to Batley Bulldogs and Whitehaven proving too much to close down.

And that was again evident yesterday, despite the Knights twice bringing themselves back within touching distance.

“Certainly we probably lacked a little bit of effort at the start,” Henderson continued.

“We went 16-0 down again, and that’s been a bit of an issue for us now for the last month. We’re just giving teams too much of a head start.

“Last week it was 36 points and the week before it was 22 points, the week before that, God knows.

“At the moment, we’re just not quite getting the start of our games right. We’re putting ourselves under far too much pressure with a penalty or an error.

“And I thought it took until we were 16-0 down before we actually started to show a little bit of mojo about us.

“But I have to give the team a massive rap in terms of how they managed to get themselves back into the contest.”