Sheffield Eagles fall to 14-34 defeat at home to York City Knights
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Sheffield more than matched their big-spending opponents in the first period and deserved their 14-12 lead at the break thanks to tries from Kris Welham, Anthony Thackeray and Ben Jones-Bishop, who combined to cancel out scores from ex-Eagle James Glover and Bailey Antrobus.
But three York tries in seven second-half minutes, courtesy of Ronan Dixon, Pauli Pauli and Marcus Stock – who later added a second – turned the game on its head.
Discussing the Jekyll and Hyde performance, Eagles head coach Mark Aston said: “We let three soft tries in, which disappoints me, but it’s all hands on deck. We have lost a couple of players with the influence of Joel (Farrell) and Woody (Mikey Wood).
"That impacted on us and we just didn’t quite have enough.”
The aforementioned duo begun a four-match suspension this afternoon after being banned for punching against Halifax.
Sheffield were nilled in the second half as the visitors secured themselves a comfortable win to move back up to third in the Betfred Championship.
The Eagles, who slip to eighth in the table, couldn't handle the visitors' human battering ram in the form of Pauli, who decimated their defensive line in one of his hell-raising cameos off the bench.
York's disruptor-in-chief, formerly of Salford Red Devils, even helped himself to his first try for the club before being withdrawn.
Aston added: “I just thought we looked a tired team at the end. There’s a lot of players having to play big minutes because we were a little bit low on numbers.
"Disappointed? Yes. There’s still signs of lots of good stuff.”
A quick turnaround will see Sheffield travel north to take on Newcastle Thunder on Sunday.
Aston said: “We have got to come in tomorrow (Friday) and get them moving, there’s some battered and broken bodies out there.
"We will give them Saturday off and look at the things we need to do against Newcastle. It’s a tough journey, which is not what you really want.
"But there are characters in that team. Can they bounce back? One-hundred per cent.”
Thunder fell to a 46-10 defeat to league leaders Featherstone on Thursday afternoon.