Despite suffering their first defeat of 2014, director of rugby Clive Griffiths found some positives in Doncaster Knights’ display – especially because much of it was with 14 men.
League leaders Doncaster found themselves 22-3 down to fellow promotion chasers Fylde at the break and No.8 Adam Kettle’s red card five minutes into the second half did not lessen the challenge.
But Griffiths’ side improved dramatically in the second period, eventually losing 25-17, and he admitted Fylde had deserved to take four points.
“In the second half with 14 men, we showed a bit of resilience and a never say die sort of thing to win the half 14-3,” said Griffiths.
“But the damage was done in the first half – the damage was done in the first ten minutes when we conceded seven penalties to nil.
“Even with 14 men we looked dangerous but we didn’t quite have that final pass. We made numerous breaks and we just didn’t capitalise.
“I don’t mind losing to teams like Fylde in the manner that they play and they went out to attack us and they made some inroads.
“But like I say we did show a lot of steel in the second half and I’m delighted with that. We go into the game with a bit of momentum.”
The Knights found themselves under early pressure, conceding the first try after just five minutes.
A Dougie Flockhart penalty put them on the board after 22 minutes but two more Fylde tries sent them into the break well off the pace.
Kettle was soon given his marching orders, after throwing a punch, but a penalty try and a last-gasp score for Mat Clark made the scoreline more respectable.
But Griffiths knows his side cannot afford another slow start when Richmond visit next weekend – but their second half performance has given the Knights chief something positive to focus on during the week.
“We were looking down the abyss at half-time 22-3 and I said look we may not win this game with 14 men but let’s leave a mark on it and I think we did,” he added.
“It’s very unusual to have scrum dominance and get penalised as many times as we did so that’s something to look at from the things we couldn’t control.
“I’m not taking anything away from Fylde. They deserved the win and good luck to them.”