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Eagles narrowly beaten at York


Sheffield Eagles came away from York on Friday night highly disappointed as they suffered a 20-12 defeat to the City Knights.

Down to 11 men at one point after sin-binnings for Anthony Thackeray and Bayley Liu, the Eagles fought hard in the second half and were within four points of the Knights up until the 79th minute.

Ross Oakes opened the scoring on six minutes as he benefited from a Joel Farrell break. Farrell, in the absence of Josh Guzdek, took over kicking duties but fired wide with his first attempt.

Matty Marsh levelled matters halfway through the first period, ducking past a tackle on his way to the whitewash. Liam Harris couldn’t convert.

The Knights went back-to-back as they made good ground downfield and capitalised on the territory when Bailey Antrobus touched down. James Glover added the extras.

Seven minutes from the break, York extended their lead when Harris touched down a grubber from Brendan O’Hagan. Glover's conversion made it 16-4 to the Knights.

In the last minute of the half, the Eagles went down to 12 men. A surging run from York saw Tom Holmes chop it down and he received a yellow card for his troubles.

Half-time - York City Knights 16-4 Sheffield Eagles

Sheffield needed to get the first score of the second half and with 12 men, they did just that. Vila Halafihi burrowed over from dummy-half but Joel couldn’t convert.

Three sin-binnings in the space of two minutes spiced up the game no end. First came the yellow card for Thackeray after retaliating to O’Hagan.

The next set saw Marsh take exception to strong attention from Liu. Both took a seat.

Despite having 11 men, and a numerical disadvantage, the Eagles outscored their opponents to make it an interesting final 15 minutes.

Ryan Johnson, playing on the wing instead of centre, checked his run marvellously to get through the York defence. Joel’s conversion attempt from the touchline didn’t whip around in time, leaving the score at 16-12 to the Knights.

The best chance for the Eagles to level the scores came seven minutes from time as Liu made a break and got the ball away to Ben Jones-Bishop but the pass was low and couldn’t be gathered by the full-back.

A minute from time came the killer blow as Glover touched down a grubber to seal victory for York. He couldn’t convert but that proved irrelevant with seconds left on the clock.

Full-time - York City Knights 20-12 Sheffield Eagles

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman