York Knights bounce back from round one defeat with impressive victory over Bradford Bulls

The weekend’s rugby league action came to a close tonight with a huge Championship clash broadcast on Viaplay.

The broadcast had a difficult task on its hands in terms of getting attention. That’s because over on Sky Sports is the multi-hour coverage of the Merseyside derby on Monday Night Football as Liverpool and Everton collide.

But those that did satisfy their rugby league fix and catch the game on Viaplay were more than rewarded as the game more than delivered.

Andrew Henderson named a strong Knights side, one that featured new boy and former Leeds Rhinos’ youngster Levi Edwards, whilst Mark Dunning and Bradford had to adapt to life without Jack Walker who suffered an injury on debut.

The game looked set to be evenly matched and therefore a game that could be decided on the mistakes and penalties.

York went on to make three within the first three minutes, kicking out on the full, landing a high tackle and then failing to gather Dec Patton’s kick to allow a scrum just ten metres out.

Even worse for the Knights was that during that period their half-back Matty Marsh went off with his arm in a sling, a disastrous start for the home side.

The first 20 minutes was an arm wrestle for field position really, York failing to capitalise with the lack of Marsh and his creativity being evident.

Meanwhile Dec Patton has plenty of creativity about him and his kick to the corner was acrobatically collected by David Foggin-Johnston to make it 4-0 just prior tot he 20 minute mark.

York responded swiftly and that triggered a scoring flurry with both sides contributing.

Will Jubb crossed over for York five minutes prior to Bodene Thompson did for the Bulls, but the Knights responded just as quick with former Huddersfield Giant Jon Luke Kirby scoring in the 33rd.

Another former Giant then extended York’s lead just before the half with Ronan Michael latching onto a grubber kick and with James Clover going three from three with the boot compared to Dec Patton’s 50% rate, the score was 18-10 to the hosts at the half.

Andrew Henderson would have certainly been the happier of the coaches at the half, especially considering the terrible start York had, and they continued to turn the screw early in the second half.

Glover kicked a penalty just two minutes into the second half to spread the game to a 10 point margin before doing the same in the 44th and 55th minute, creating a three score game and allowing the Knights to establish a solid stranglehold on the match.

York maintained that position of strength for much of the second half and sets by Bradford proved fruitless with Roby over kicking and then Flanagan Sr under kicking for a 40-20.

Another penalty from the boot of James Glover came of the 70th minute, York making the most of the large number of penalties that the Bulls forfeited.

The game was finally written off in the 75th minute when Australian Jesse Dee crossed over and Glover converted once again to take his personal tally to 16.

Bradford made the score line look more respectable with a try in the last minute to make the game 32-16 but the damage was done with the dominance of York’s defence and Glover’s boot earlier on.

It was a dominant display from York defensively and whilst they didn’t always have the cutting edge, Marsh’s injury being a key contributor, they had the persistence to force mistakes and capitalise on that field position and those back to back sets.

Coach Andrew Henderson will be delighted with their defensive efforts, although the last minute try for the Bulls will be one he’s upset about, particularly given his Knights had shut out the Bulls throughout all of the second half till that point.

It marked a first win for York following their 19-12 defeat to Widnes, whilst Bradford failed to make it two from two and join the likes of Featherstone, Toulouse and Widnes atop the table.

York will make their first away trip this coming weekend, making the trip to Toulouse for what will be a huge test, whereas Bradford welcome the undefeated Widnes to Odsal in another brilliant matchup.

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