IT is not often that Andrew Henderson is lost for words, but he certainly was as his York Knights completed the unlikeliest of comebacks to defeat Swinton Lions 30-22 at Heywood Road.

The Knights were dead and buried in Manchester as Swinton raced out of the blocks, with an Andy Badrock double alongside tries from Jake Spedding and Jake Burns, putting them in complete control with a 22-point half-time lead.

But the dismissal of half-back Jordan Gibson for a high tackle that left the Knights’ Will Dagger knocked out with 15 minutes remaining ultimately proved to be the hosts’ downfall.

Second-rower Jesse Dee kickstarted the Knights’ comeback with a little over 10 minutes left to play, before a Josh Daley brace, and tries from Joe Brown and Hull FC loanee Franklin Pele - alongside Taylor Pemberton’s faultless performance from the tee - saw them take the spoils at the death.

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Asked whether he had ever been involved in such a comeback, Henderson replied: “Not in that context, no!

“To score 30 points in less than 15 minutes - wow, that’s just incredible.

“I’ve never been involved in a game like that. I’ve been involved in games as a player where we’ve come from behind, 24-0 or something and we’ve snatched it.

“But to be in a position where we’ve scored 30 points in less than 15 minutes to win the game, it’s hard to even put it into comprehension.”

York started terribly, with the 22-point advantage they had handed Swinton eclipsing what they had given away in defeat to both Batley Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles over recent weeks.

And until Gibson’s red card, they had shown little willingness to form a response, making their eventual comeback all the more remarkable.

York Press: The Knights were second best for the majority, but capitalised on their extra man to turn the game on its head late on.The Knights were second best for the majority, but capitalised on their extra man to turn the game on its head late on. (Image: Craig Hawkhead Photography)

“That first half, we addressed it at half time,” Henderson explained. “Our ball control was nowhere near, we were running at 58 per cent completion in that first half and we only had 12 sets of possession.

“We gave away a number of penalties which ultimately led to tries; our try-line defence wasn’t special, that right edge wasn’t good enough. But ultimately, we really lacked that intensity in what we were doing. 

“We spoke about at half time, tidying up our ball control and getting back to our plan, which was to go more direct and through them. I felt that we were trying to go around them a little bit, when that wasn’t the plan that we had in place for today.

“And then obviously to try and tidy up our discipline. We wanted to see a little bit more defensively from us. But it’s like anything, when you’re not completing high and you’ve not got the most possession, it does have that impact on you.

"We came out in that second half and in the first set we gave a penalty away and it was almost like a repeat of the first half, we couldn't get any rhythm or flow. I could see that the players were getting frustrated and when that happens, they try to chance their arm and overplay a little bit.

"I kept trying to get that message to them to say 'let's get back, rein it in, we've got to earn the right to get back into it'.

"It probably took us to that last 15 minutes where we did, we just went very direct, we went through them and we scored points because of that.

"What we showed in that final 15 minutes was a lot of composure, a lot of discipline and a lot of patience in what we were doing. We didn't try and force it over, we just kept sticking to the script and we got over the line and scored those points."