YORK Knights boss Andrew Henderson feels as though yesterday’s gutting 22-18 defeat to Widnes Vikings was tough to take for his depleted side.

The Knights had no recognised full-back, and had to dual-register debutant Jack Potter from Newcastle Thunder to fill the holes ravaged by injury, with next week’s mid-season break not able to come quick enough.

Henderson’s side came out of the blocks well and were on course for a third straight Betfred Championship victory when converted tries from Conor Fitzsimmons and Joe Brown, alongside a Taylor Pemberton penalty, handed them a 14-point advantage at the break.

But the loss of influential half-back Ata Hingano to a failed HIA with 25 minutes remaining proved the turning point.

Sensing their opportunity, Widnes duly delivered, with Kieran Dixon scoring a late double against his former club before Mike Butt completed the comeback with two minutes left to play.

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Despite the eventual result, the Knights could not be faulted for their efforts, with Charlie Severs, Jimmy Keinhorst and Taylor Pemberton all also nursing injury by the full-time hooter.

“It’s a tough one to take today,” admitted Henderson. “I thought that the players, certainly their effort, their attitude and their application could not have been questioned today. 

“We had a scratchy side, we had a few guys again playing out of position. We were down to what we had available, fit and ready, and we rolled out with what I felt was probably the best 17 we could put out to combat that Widnes side that’s been in reasonable form in the Championship.

“I thought we made Widnes second best for large parts of the game and it almost feels like a reversal to last week where we were pretty average for 68 minutes of the game, but we played really well for the final 12 minutes. 

“On reflection this week, it’s almost like we were pretty good for 68 minutes then failed to manage that final 12-minute period, which allowed Widnes to nick it at the end.

“But to say that we had Taylor Pemberton at full-back and we’ve had to recall young Jack Potter and give him his debut this week in what I felt was quite a high-pressure game, I felt that they acquitted themselves pretty well.

“We had a few other guys there who were again out of position, but losing Ata Hingano was a crucial part today, that was quite a telling factor, it caused a bit of disruption for us and we had to move the pieces.

"I can't fault the effort and the attitude today from the team, they were outstanding. They really ran their blood to water for the club and the fans.

"But ultimately, probably just a little bit of game management and game smarts in that final 10 minutes probably hurt us."