York City Knights 16 Sheffield Eagles 24
Sheffield Eagles made it six wins from seven Championship outings after a battling 24-16 victory over fellow high-flyers York City Knights at Bootham Crescent, writes Matt Young.
The Eagles took a grip of the game in the second half with tries from James Glover and a brace from debutant Ben Hellewell, and held on despite a late rally from the hosts who threatened to snatch something from the game late on.
Coach Mark Aston included dual-registration duo Hellewell and Sadiq Adebiyi in his 17, with Jason Crookes out injured and Blake Broadbent starting a two-match ban.
The Eagles showed their newly-found steel during the opening quarter and defended their line successfully as the hosts threatened after Ryan Millar spilled a high bomb 10 metres out.
In a tight first-half, the Eagles came close after making ground through back-to-back penalties, but when well placed near the York line, Corey Makelim knocked on when playing the ball.
The visitors maintained the momentum and were on the board when great work by Glover saw the centre find Josh Guzdek, he offloaded superbly in the tackle for Millar to squeeze through in the corner. Walker missed the extras.
Just before the break, the hosts hit the front when debutant Conor McGrath superbly switched a pass inside as he looked to be heading into touch, allowing Liam Salter to dive over for a converted try.
The Eagles started the second-half on the front foot, but this time it was York who showed their toughness as they shut out some early pressure.
Just before the hour, the Eagles hit the front when Anthony Thackeray’s cross-field kick was grounded by Glover, and Walker converted.
York should have responded instantly when Matthew Marsh’s grubber was knocked on in goal, and it would prove costly when shortly after Hellewell produced a disguised run to find a hole in the York line to score, with Walker again converting.
The Knights set up a grandstand finish through Will Jubb’s converted try, but Walker’s penalty increased the Eagles’ advantage to six points.
There was drama at the death when McGrath’s try in the corner gave the hosts the chance to level, but Connor Robinson missed the conversion from out wide.
With time ticking away, Hellewell made the game safe at the death with his second score, and Walker’s conversion added further gloss.
York: Marsh; McGrath, Salter, Hey, Whiteley; Cockayne, Robinson; Horne, Jubb, Teanby; Batchelor, Scott; Spears. Interchange: Brining, Dixon, Blagbrough, Porter.
Scorers: Tries: Salter (37), Jubb (73), McGrath (77) Goals: Robinson 2/3
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Glover, Hellewell, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; James, Davey, Knowles; Farrell, Davies: Brown. Interchange: Adebiyi, P. Burns, Dixon, Makelim.
Scorers: Tries: Millar (29), Glover (58), Hellewell (63, 79) Goals: Walker 4/5
Referee: Jack Smith