ALAN Kilshaw felt as though York Knights’ astonishing comeback was a kick in the stomach for his Swinton Lions.

In truth, Swinton had been the better side for the majority of the Betfred Championship clash at Heywood Road on Sunday, but Jordan Gibson’s red card paved the way for the Knights to overturn a mammoth 22-point deficit in 12 clinical minutes to snatch the points late on.

The hosts had raced out of the blocks, taking the lead with just three minutes on the clock after Andy Badrock crashed onto Dec Patton’s short pass into the left corner.

And it was deja-vu for Andrew Henderson’s side nine minutes later as Badrock completed his double in identical fashion, before Gibson’s looping offload freed StHelens loanee Tee Ritson, who unselfishly passed back inside for Jake Spedding to touch down.

By that point, the Lions were scoring at a point a minute, and with Will Dagger sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul, there was still time for Jake Burns to notch his first try for the club shortly before the break.

Read next:

Both sides lost a man apiece to head injuries before the decisive red card with 65 minutes played, Gibson given his marching orders after catching Dagger high as he returned a kick at speed.

Jesse Dee started the Knights’ comeback three minutes later after dancing around Swinton’s patchy try-line defence, before Josh Daley twice backed himself from the play-the-ball to crash over next to the posts.

Taylor Pemberton then fired York in front after converting Joe Brown’s long-range effort before Hull FC loanee Franklin Pele capped off a memorable 30-22 victory inside the final minute.

With the Knights leaving it incredibly late to mount their comeback, Kilshaw could not hide his frustration.

“The overall result is very disappointing,” he told the club. "At 22-0, you should go on and win the game, and 22-0 with 15 minutes left as well.

“But it’s a momentum game, and the momentum swung on that decision.

“We were pretty busted as well with a couple of late withdrawals, we were busted on the day and we lost a couple of interchanges, the lads were doing it tough. 

“But you need your 13 men on the field. That then gave them a real leg-up.”

York Press: Hooker Josh Daley scored twice as the Knights mounted an incredible late comeback in Manchester.Hooker Josh Daley scored twice as the Knights mounted an incredible late comeback in Manchester. (Image: Craig Hawkhead Photography)

The head coach declined to comment on Gibson’s red card but hinted that it would likely not be the only incident referred to the Match Review Panel.

He admitted: “I won’t say too much on the [red card] incident, but I’ll be really interested to see what comes back with the review.

"I thought there were a couple of things that were allowed to stand today in terms of some of their carries. They were quite dangerous and leading in with the elbow, things like that.

“We’ll go through all the right channels and explore it. I’ll go back through the rulebook and check that my thoughts collaborate with the rulebook. There’s a couple of things that I thought today weren’t right. 

“I don’t want to sound like sour grapes, but congratulations to York. They were 22-0 down and they came back. Obviously their size really affected us at the back end when we did have that disjointed middle and we did have a man sent off.

“There are positives to take, but you don’t feel like that now. You feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach when you lose like that and in the manner of the loss.

“But the way that we controlled things in the first half, the attack was really good, we just went away from that in the second half and invited them back into the game, and then the game swung on that decision.”