Solid platform helps Eagles break duck

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SHEFFIELD Eagles built on a strong, determined defence to claim their first win in the Championship last night.

Two tries in a three minute spell midway through the second half made sure of the victory.

Eagles coach Mark Aston said: “It was an excellent performance. The lads stuck to the game plan. I wanted a stronger defence and we scrambled at times but we stuck in there.

“We gave a couple of penalties away and on the back of that they scored tries so there’s still work to do but for 60 minutes to nil any team is pretty outstanding. They asked a lot of questions of us and we answered them.

“We are getting people back and competion for places is the key because people will be looking over their shoulders and asking how they are playing.”

A delighted Aston also heaped praise on his forwards and added: “Liam Higgins was very strong in his first spell, Jack Howieson was strong and Andrew Henderson was outstanding.”

The Eagles grew stronger as the game went on with their forwards dominating the York pack and denied the hosts a point in the final 40 minutes.

Menzie Yere, back after his one-match ban, was partnered at centre by dual reg signing from Bradford Bulls Jason Crookes, who was making his debut. Quentin Laulu-Togagae started at fullback while Kyle Wood was at scrum-half for the televised game.

The video referee came to the Eagles aid after two minutes, ruling out a York try under the posts.

Former Sheffield half-back Chris Thorman tested Laulu-Togagae with a series of high kicks while Eagles prop Liam Higgins put in a string of blasting runs.

Eagles took the lead from a break from Danny Mills taken on by Alex Szostak whose pass found Laulu-Togagae ghosting in. Simon Brown added the goal.

York hit back with try from second row John Davies. The hosts went ahead when Jon Presley was allowed to race through a gap in the Eagles line and Thorman added the goal. Eagles went back in front ten minutes from halftime when Mills took a long pass from Wood and went in near the corner and Brown added to two points with great touchline kick for 12-10 lead at the break.

Eagle forwards used their power to control take from the restart and with some strong defence it was to proved decisive.

Mills broke the deadlock, squeezing in at the corner for his second try and Brown added the goal. A 50-metre break by Yere with Joe Hirst providing the final pass sent in Crookes for a debut try.

Eagles kept up the pressure and sealed the win with a try from the big men as Hirst and Jack Howieson sent in Alex Rowe. Brown added the goal.

YORK CITY KNIGHTS: Tom Bush; Dave Sutton, Jordan Thompson, Duane Straugheir, Danny Wilson; Chris Thorman, Jon Presley; Nathan Massey, Jack Lee, Alex Benson, Rhys Clarke, John Davies, Ben Jones. Subs: Nathan Freer, Matt Garside, Matt Barron, Steve Lewis.

Tries: Davies, 14, Presley, 22,

SHEFFIELD EAGLES: Quentin Laulu-Togagae; Danny Mills, Menzie Yere, Jason Crookes, Tim Bergin; Kyle Wood, Simon Brown; Jack Howieson, Andrew Henderson, Liam Higgins, Alex Szostak, Peter Green, Joe Hirst. Subs: Pat Smith, Ryan Hepworth, Alex Rowe, Mitch Stringer.

Tries: Laulu-Togagae, 11, Mills, 29, 53, Crookes, 56.

Goals: Brown 1/2.

Referee: Tim Roby.

Penalties: 2-5

Attendance: 2,022