York City Knights 24-40 Halifax Panthers: Five things we learnt

·3-min read
York City Knights debutant Bailey Antrobus impressed on his club debut against Halifax Panthers. Picture: Craig Hawkhead
York City Knights debutant Bailey Antrobus impressed on his club debut against Halifax Panthers. Picture: Craig Hawkhead

YORK City Knights fell to their first league defeat since February after losing out 40-24 to Halifax Panthers at the LNER Community Stadium. Here are five things that we learnt from the game.

1. Halifax live up to pre-season hype

Before a ball was kicked in the Betfred Championship this season, Halifax were tipped by many to replicate last season's third-placed showing.

The Panthers' eye-catching off-season recruitment had plenty of second-tier observers believing that Simon Grix's side were a step ahead of the rest in the race for third, behind Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions.

On the evidence seen at the LNER Community Stadium, such predictions appear to be bearing true as Fax showed plenty of quality characteristics.

To come from 18-6 behind, even with 11 men at one point, they displayed plenty of mettle while in the second half, the visitors looked capable of scoring from every foray forward, so good was their devastating attack.

York head coach James Ford was magnanimous in defeat and was willing to accept that his side were beaten by the better team.

2. However late first-half tries will have frustrated York

While it is only right to praise Halifax for such an impressive performance, at the same time, the Knights will have left wondering how they managed to concede three times in five minutes before half time.

At that point, York held the numerical advantage, with the Panthers briefly down to 11, but appear rushed in attack as a result, with Liam Harris forcing a long, wide pass which Lachlan Walmsley picked off for an intercept score.

Danny Kirmond and then Jamie Ellis were caught out by clever steps from Joe Keyes and James Woodburn-Hall for the next tries, the former scored by Brandon Moore and the latter finished by the full-back himself.

The quick-fire scores may have only left Fax four ahead at half time but it appeared to be a huge physiological boost that York struggled to bounce back from.

3. Perspective needed in defeat

As frustrated as some York fans rightly found themselves at the final hooter, a sense of perspective, as ever, is needed before reaching sudden conclusions.

The Knights remain in third, two points in front of Halifax, and after a dozen league matches, remarkably, they have lost just three times, all to top four opposition.

A very healthy six-point lead is currently in place inside the play-offs and that gap could be extended with a win at Sheffield Eagles next time out.

4. Injury issues hamper York

While the Knights were only enforced into two changes through injury - Brendan O'Hagan and Jacob Ogden - Ford revealed that quartet Jack Teanby, Ronan Dixon, Danny Kirmond and Will Oakes all played on through knocks.

Against lesser opposition, York may have been able to cope with such issues but Halifax are certainly among the division's best.

It can only be hoped that the weekend off will benefit those carrying bumps and bruises.

5. Impressive debut from Bailey Antrobus

One of the biggest positives from York's defeat was the performance of debutant Bailey Antrobus, particularly given that he played at centre rather than his preferred back-row.

He won several early carries and looks an exciting young prospect and already a real find from York.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting