York City Knights 18 Sheffield Eagles 25: Laulu-Togagae’s double ensures York still hunting for first victory

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Sheffield inflicted their third defeat this year on the Knights as York maintained their dreadful start to the season although a resilient second-half performance provided hope and ensured they secured their second bonus point of the season.

York’s game plan was clearly centred around a fierce determination to maintain control of possession with 17 completed sets out of their 22 during the first half, but it was the Eagles who looked to have the greater incisive power.

With the pack creating constant inroads into the York defence it was perhaps surprising that it was only after 20 minutes that Simon Brown’s pass found Quentin Laulu-Togagae on the burst to score.

But within six minutes York were level as scrum-half Ben Johnson ripped the ball from the surprised Laulu-Togagae’s grasp to scamper over the line and survive trial by the video referee as the Eagles claimed more than one in the tackle.

With the first penalty arriving after 34 minutes the Eagles moved downfield and Laulu-Toggae glided through a bemused defence to secure a six-point lead at the break.

Winger Vinnie Finigan touched down Simon Brown’s deft kick but York responded as two tries within three minutes levelled the scores. James Ford intercepted Brambani’s pass to outpace a frantic defence over 60 metres and winger George Elliott finished a cross-field move to score in the corner.

But the Eagles maintained their composure as Dom Brambani scrambled through from acting half to score and a drop-goal from Brown ensured victory.

Defeat leaves the Knights anchored at the bottom of the Championship table, with no wins from their opening seven games of the season.

York City Knights: Tansey, Bush, Ford, Garside, Elliott, Thorman, Johnson, Sullivan, Lee, Aldous, Davies, Houston, King. Substitutes: Turner, Sutton, Clarke, Hemmings.

Sheffield Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Finigan, Yere, Taulapapa, Morrison, Brown, Brambani, Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Green, Hirst. Substitutes: Scott, Higgins, Straugheir, Hepworth.

Referee: G Hewer (Whitehaven).