JAMES RATCLIFFE was a “very proud” man after seeing his York City Knights side beat Oldham 20-18 in a true television thriller last night.

Captain Paul Hughes’ try on the hour-mark completed a comeback from 18-10 down, but the game – the first ever at Huntington Stadium to be screened live on Sky Sports – was won at the death at the other end, as centre John Oakes made three try-saving tackles in the last five minutes.

The last, deep into stoppage-time, involved two other defenders in a melee close to the corner flag and saw referee Jamie Leahy refer the decision to video ref James Child. And, after what seemed like an eternity, the bumper crowd of 3,106 – the biggest attendance in Championship One this year – erupted as the try was ruled out.

Director of rugby Ratcliffe, whose side leapfrogged the Roughyeds into second place, said: “I’m really, really proud. It was really great to be part of that team.

“They showed a lot of determination. Oldham have thrown everything at us and we’ve come through the other side.

“We will take a lot of positives out of that. We’re now second and we’ve laid down the challenge to the players to stay there.”

As for that video refereeing decision, Ratcliffe admitted he initially thought the touchdown was valid, but he joked: “It was definitely no try.

“We had a monitor on the side of the field and at first it looked like he had got the ball down but, at second look, there’s a hand in there (under the ball).

“But sometimes you make your own luck and sometimes you deserve to come through the other side.”

He added: “There are areas for us to improve again, but we will take the three points any day of the week.”

Ratcliffe was also delighted with the massive attendance, boosted by the ticket giveaway thanks to the Rugby Football League’s television deal with Sky, and work behind the scenes by Knights staff.

Many of those present were new to the Knights, and Ratcliffe said: “They must have been going away thinking, ‘wow, how good is this’.

“I’ve said to general manager Ian Wilson I think it’s a fantastic credit to everyone at the club to bring 3,100 people here, and the city of York has to embrace it.

“I hope they all come back because to have 3,000 people here is brilliant. We want to play in front of crowds like that every week.”

* Don’t miss Peter Martini’s Knights Diary in The Press tomorrow.