Rugby League: Sheffield Eagles 16 York City Knights 23 – Eagles’ play-off hopes dented at home
Sheffield Eagles slipped to another narrow defeat on home soil after 23-16 defeat against play-off rivals York City Knights in a thriller at the OLP.
The Eagles’ top five ambitions took another big dent after Mark Aston’s side just fell short in a tight and committed contest, which mirrored the earlier showdown between the sides at Bootham Crescent.
Aston knows his side now have little margin for error in the run-in, after back-to-back league defeats.
Both sides threw everything at each other for the first 20 minutes, and whilst the Eagles had the better of the exchanges, it was very much defences on top as the game remained scoreless.
After having a try chalked off, York opened their account just after the half-hour mark after finally unpicking the Eagles, with Jason Bass scrambing over in the corner, and Connor Robinson converting from the touchline.
With the half-time hooter sounding, the Eagles drew level as Josh Guzdek’s looping pass found Ben Blackmore hugging the touchline, with the winger expertly touching down in the corner under pressure. Pat Walker nailed the conversion from out wide.
Cameron Scott’s try just after the interval quickly put York back in front, but Robinson failed to convert after striking the post.
The visitors now had the upper hand and after Marcus Stock forged his way across the whitewash in front of the posts for a converted try, there was daylight between the teams for the first time.
After holding out with a brilliant defensive set, the Eagles gave themselves a foothold again when Walker’s pass teed up Anthony Thackeray who jinked over for a try, but Walker also rattled the post when failing with the extras.
A moment of brilliance from Thackeray with a chip and chase on the last almost brought another score, but after the loose ball was gathered by Walker, his errant pass under pressure denied the hosts what would have been a stellar try.
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With the Eagles now camped on the York line, Jason Crookes’ pass was intercepted allowing the Knights to move upfield, with Will Oakes crossing on the last for a converted score.
The hosts refused to lie down and Thackeray’s short pass allowed Oliver Davies to power over for a converted score.
York though held out for a vital win, with Robinson adding a drop goal to seal the points.
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Ogden, Crookes, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Knowles, Davey, P. Burns; Farrell, Davies; Brown. Interchange: Meadows, Broadbent, Mason, Esslemont.
Scorers: Tries: Blackmore (40), Thackeray (54), Davies (70) Goals: 2/3
York: Bass; Oakes, Hay, Scott, Whiteley; Harris, Robinson; Teanby, Jubb, Horne; Jordan-Roberts, Salter; Spears. Interchange: Brinning, Baldwinson, Blagborough, Stock.
Scorers: Tries: Bass (32), Scott (43), Stock (48), Oakes (67) Goals: Robinson 3/4 Drop Goal: Robinson 1/1
Referee: A. Moore