York Knights kept their Betfred Championship Play-Off hopes alive with a thrilling and dramatic 15-14 win over Batley Bulldogs.
Batley led after the opening quarter through two early tries from Lucas Walshaw and James Meadows.
But three unanswered first-half Knights tries from Oli Pratt, AJ Towse and Joe Brown ensured the Knights led 14-10 at the break at the LNER Community Stadium.
Batley levelled game with Dale Morton’s score out wide on the hour mark, but Liam Harris’ last minute drop-goal secured a crucial two points for the Knights.
York headed into their final home fixture of the 2023 season knowing only a win would keep alive their Play-Off hopes, having come into this fixture on the back of four consecutive wins in the Betfred Championship.
It was the visitors who took the lead after eight minutes as Walshaw crashed over to score after latching onto a short ball. Dale Morton stepped up with the conversion, but he was unable to add the extras from in front.
Adam Gledhill thought he touched down minutes later as Batley thought they’d scored their second try of the evening, but referee Marcus Griffiths said the forward knocked on following James Meadows’ grubber through.
Woods grubbered a kick under the sticks for Batley, which allowed Meadows to touch down and score the second try of the evening for the visitors at the end of the first quarter.
This time Morton added the extras, taking Batley into a 0-10 lead at the LNER.
After Aiden McGowan knocked on from Liam Harris’ spiralling kick into the air, Jubb looked to have gone under the posts to score but he was deemed held-up by the referee, before the end of set saw Towse drag Morton over the try line in possession to force a goal-line drop out.
Oli Pratt responded for the Knights with a try towards the right edge, who forced his way over through a handful of Batley defenders after meeting Harris’ flick-out pass.
With the toughest of conversions from the touch line, Harris was unable to add the extras.
With four minutes to before the break, the Knights scored their second try of the evening as Towse went over to score in the left corner, with Harris once again unable to add the extras.
But things got better for York three minutes later as they ensured they headed into the break in the lead. Myles Harrison made a great break forward, before playing the ball back inside to Joe Brown who went crashing over to score.
Harris was able to this time add the extras, handing York Knights a four point advantage heading into the break.
It was Morton who levelled the game in the 61st minute, who crashed over to score on the right edge after the ball was shifted out-wide. The winger was unable to add his kick however, ensuring the scores were level at 14-14 with nineteen minutes to play.
After both sides went for drop goal attempts with didn’t come off, it was the Knights who stole the points with a minute to go as Harris' drop goal went over from close-range, securing a crucial 15-14 win for Henderson’s side.
York: Brown, Towse, Clarkson, Pratt, Harrison, Dee, Harris, Ta’ai, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Field, Kirmond, Thompson
Interchanges (all used): Michael, Pauli, Santi, Pemberton
Tries: Pratt (24’), Towse (36’), Brown (39’)
Goals: Harris (1/3)
Drop Goal: Harris (79’)
Batley: McGowan, Morton, Hodson, Buchanan, Kear, Meadows, Woods, Gledhill, Blake, Reilly, Manning, Walshaw, White
Interchanges (all used): Ward, Senior, Flynn, Burton
Tries: Walshaw (8’), Meadows (19’), Morton (61’)
Goals: Morton (1/3)