Swinton Lions 34 York City Knights 10: Pressure intensifies on Knights after defeat to fellow strugglers

YORK City Knights fell into the Championship drop zone last night after a crushing defeat at relegation rivals Swinton Lions.

Knights coach Gary Thornton, having admitted the Manchester club were the better side on the night stressed his team would not give up the fight with four games of the season to go.

“We will not give up the ghost,” said Thornton. “We will pick ourselves up and regroup. It will go down to the death.”

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The Knights had gone ahead with a try by Matt Nicholson, returning from injury with Tom Carr converting.

However, Swinton soon got a grip on the game and turned the screw, taking a 16-6 interval lead through tries by James Mendeika, Darren Hawkyard and Matt Sarsfield.

Hawkyard extended the lead four minutes into the second half before York – who had lost big-hitting back-row Joe Pickets to concussion in the first period – got back into the game through on-loan scrum-half Ben Johnston.

Several other Knights incursions went to waste, however, and, with the visitors increasingly desperate, Swinton sealed their win with late tries by Mendeika and Rhys Williams. Half-back Craig Harvey, whose kicking game had tested York all night, added a penalty on the hooter to go with his four conversions.

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Swinton Lions: R Hawkyard, Penny, Nanyn, Mendeika, Williams, Harvey, Watson, Riley, M Smith, Morrison, D Hawkyard, Sarsfield, Hulme. Substitutes: Burke, Brown, Mills, Tahraoui.

York City Knights: Carr, Elliott, Ford, J Latus, Flockhart, Brown, Johnston, Freer, Lee, Nicholson, Scott, E Smith, Pickets. Substitutes: Iley, Stenchion, Aldous, Mallinder.

Referee: C Leatherbarrow (RFL)

SHEFFIELD Eagles will aim to avenge their Northern Rail Cup final defeat when they host Leigh Centurions tonight.

The Championship leaders let themselves down badly with a 43-28 loss in last month’s showpiece.

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However, they have readied themselves to address that when Leigh arrive in South Yorkshire hoping to cut their lead at the top to just three points.

“We’ve got a bit of hunger to turn the negative of a loss in a final into a positive, which is another win at home,” said Sheffield coach Mark Aston.