YORK Knights recorded their sixth victory in their last seven matches as they heaped more misery on last-placed Newcastle Thunder with a 20-6 triumph at Kingston Park.

Andrew Henderson’s side seldom showed much of the attacking flair fans have become accustomed to over the last month against a Newcastle side who put up another brave fight in their bid to avoid what is becoming an increasingly inevitable relegation.

But the Knights were patient after a Will Jubb score had been all to show for their utter dominance during the opening 40 minutes, two tries from the returning Myles Harrison and a faultless performance from the boot of Liam Harris securing a deserved two points in their late bid for a coveted place in the play-offs.

Gideon Boafo’s outstanding solo try had given Chris Thorman’s outfit an added impetus after the interval to level the scores, with the hosts playing with the wind in their sails in the minutes that followed, but the Thunder never really got their heads back up after conceding further.

Their 18th defeat in 23 Betfred Championship matches sees them remain five points behind Swinton Lions, whom York entertain at the LNER Community Stadium next Sunday, with just four games remaining.

Henderson named the same starting 13 as finished last weekend’s dramatic 40-30 triumph at Widnes Vikings, with Jesse Dee replacing the injured Ata Hingano at half-back, Wakefield Trinity loanee Oli Pratt taking the Australian’s place in the centres.

Harrison replaced his fellow Heworth youngster on the bench, certainly making his impact from among the interchanges felt after replacing the injured Joe Brown early on in his first run-out of the season at full-back.

RECAP: Newcastle Thunder vs York Knights

York had triumphed in each of the sides’ previous two encounters earlier this season by just four points, and this match had all the hallmarks of another close contest from the outset.

It was Newcastle that carved out the first chance of the match in the third minute after a loose pass was intercepted by Hull KR loanee Connor Moore, who was brought down by Harris inches from the line, but Connor Bailey could not cleanly collect a pass in his direction from the next play.                 

Instead, it was the Knights who drew first blood with nine minutes played, the pressure from a goal-line drop out and a six-again within 10 metres of the Newcastle line telling as Jubb crashed over out of dummy half from close range, Harris making no mistake to add the extras.

York Press: Hooker Will Jubb opened the scoring after nine minutes.Hooker Will Jubb opened the scoring after nine minutes. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

York looked to kick on from their early score but found Boafo equal to Harris and Dee’s repeated kicks to the right corner in what was a strong performance from the prolific former London Broncos winger.

The Knights were then dealt another injury blow to a spine member of their squad, Henderson taking no chances in replacing full-back Joe Brown with Harrison after he had rolled his ankle – a decision that proved influential in deciding the outcome.

Mac Walsh was bundled into touch on the 40-metre line after his side had won a penalty for a high tackle as the Knights continued to dominate, before full-back Alex Donaghy was left with little choice but to palm a Dee grubber dead for a goal-line drop out, but Harris knocked-on as he bore down on the line.

Successive penalties won for high tackles saw York handed repeated attacking field position by their opponents, but Henderson’s side could not take any of their further chances, an audacious 50-metre drop-goal attempt by Harris proving the last action before the interval.

Newcastle came out fighting after the break, drawing themselves back onto level terms in the 46th minute through some individual brilliance from Boafo, who burst forward from his own 30-metre line and through a sea of Knights defenders to cross to the left of the posts, Nikau Williams bringing the scores to six apiece.

But York hit back just five minutes later, AJ Towse bundling his opposite number into touch to hand his side back possession on their 40-metre line, before Pratt sidestepped his way through the Newcastle defence - as he was tackled somehow finding space to offload left to Harrison - who crashed over the whitewash from close range, Harris again converting.

York Press: Myles Harrison, playing at full-back, marked his return with a brace of tries.Myles Harrison, playing at full-back, marked his return with a brace of tries. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Both Danny Kirmond and Conor Fitzsimmons were held up as the visitors looked to extend their advantage but Thunder’s mistakes at the back proved costly. After conceding another drop-out, Williams’ kick found touch, Harris duly firing the resulting penalty between the posts in front of his side’s vocal travelling support.

Jason Bass saw a fine chance go begging after a lovely show of hands from the Knights resulted in a poor pass in his direction, before referee Ryan Cox penalised Oli Field just as the second-rower was about to drive across the line.

Newcastle, desperate for points in their bid for survival, did not give up however, coming close to cutting the deficit after winning a penalty for a shoulder charge, but found themselves wrapped up close to the line after playing on the last tackle.

The Knights finished the scoring on the hooter, Harrison completing his brace after juggling a bullet pass from Chris Clarkson, doing just enough to touch the ball down in-goal despite slipping close to the line, Harris again converting.

A fourth consecutive victory on the road for Henderson’s side, and a sixth in their last seven matches, as they continue their late bid for an unlikely play-off place, ahead of their home tie against Swinton Lions next Sunday.

NEWCASTLE THUNDER: Donaghy, Johnson, Walsh, Walker, Boafo, Balmforth, Williams, Chapelhow, Davies, Moore, Clegg, Tuliatu, Bailey.

INTERCHANGES: Simons, Lightowler, Walton, Clark.

TRIES: Boafo (46)

GOALS: Williams 1/1

YORK KNIGHTS: Brown, Bass, Pratt, Clarkson, Towse, Dee, Harris, Santi, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Field, Kirmond, Thompson.

INTERCHANGES: Pemberton, Harrison, Warren, Michael.

TRIES: Jubb (9), Harrison (52, 80)

GOALS: Harris 4/4


POINTS SEQUENCE: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, 6-10, 6-12, 6-14, 6-18, 6-20.

YORK’S STAR MAN: Myles Harrison. It’s hard to look past the stand-in full-back, who hardly made a mistake after replacing the injured Joe Brown, though Danny Kirmond rolled back the years in an outstanding shift in the second row.