York Knights held off a second-half fightback to beat Sheffield Eagles 24-22 in a Betfred Challenge Cup Fourth Round thriller at the LNER Community Stadium.
York amassed a 20-0 lead inside the opening 23 minutes after a rapid start, which saw Myles Harrison and Conor Fitzsimmons cross for the Knights and Danny Kirmond score a brace.
The Knights faced an uphill battle when Kirmond was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on the half-hour mark.
Sheffield's comeback was sparked by Kris Welham and Cory Aston tries within the space of three minutes before AJ Towse decisively hit back for York.
Jason Bass and Matty Chrimes tries saw the Eagles cut the gap to two points with five minutes to go but the Knights held on to book their place in the Fifth Round at home against Newcastle Thunder on the weekend of April 22nd-23rd.
Such a dramatic finale did not appear on the cards when the Knights made a lightning start, opening the scoring inside three minutes when Connor Barley sent Harrison diving in at the corner from a right-side shift.
Five minutes later, Kirmond hit a short ball from Marsh before barging through the Eagles defence.
Kirmond completed his double when Harris sliced through the line before releasing his supporting back-rower.
James Glover added the extras, his first conversion after missing his opening two attempts.
The Knights' dream start continued when Fitzsimmons drove over the whitewash from Will Jubb's drop-off pass out of dummy-half close to the line. Glover added the extras, his only other successful attempt at goal.
The complexion of the cup tie turned on its head on the half-hour though when Kirmond was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Aston, however the hosts held on to their 20-0 lead at the break.
Sheffield began their second-half fightback began when quick hands from Anthony Thackeray put Welham over for a stroll-in.
In the next set, ex-Knight Jason Bass raced away down the left flank before the supporting Aston strolled in for the Eagles. Aston converted both scores to cut the gap to eight points.
The Knights responded with what would prove to be the winning try. Glover's restart found the touchline to earn the field position for Harris to kick high into the leaping hands of Towse, who brilliantly finished.
Glover missed the opportunity to put York three scores in front from a penalty goal attempt, with Sheffield coming close to capitalising on that error.
Bass walked in down the left edge as the Eagles profited from numbers down the short side. Aston's conversion left Mark Aston's side trailing by just six points.
The nerves around the LNER Community Stadium heightened when Chrimes dived over in the right corner but Aston's first missed conversion came at the opportune moment, seeing Sheffield trail 24-22, a lead that the Knights held onto until the final hooter.
York: Brown, Towse, Glover, Barley, Harrison, Marsh, Harris, Antrobus, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Field, Kirmond, Thompson.
Subs (all used): Michael, Daley, Teanby, Ta’ai
Tries: Harrison (4‘), Kirmond (8’, 11’), Fitzsimmons (22‘), Towse (56’)
Goals: Glover (2/6)
Red Card: Kirmond (30’)
Sheffield: Jones-Bishop, Chrimes, Welham, Oakes, Bass, Aston, Thackeray, Douglas, Halafihi, Dickinson, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Gwaze.
Subs (all used): J. Farrell, Hodgson, Wood, Liu
Tires: Welham (50‘), Aston (53'), Bass (64’), Chrimes (75’)
Goals: Aston (3/4)
Referee: James Vella
Geoff Pryce Player of The Match in partnership with Isaac Poad Brewing: AJ Towse
Tickets are still available for York Knights' Betfred Championship clash against Keighley Cougars at the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday (7.30pm). General Admission tickets are priced at £20 for Adults, £15 for Concessions and FREE for Under-16s. To purchase your General Admission tickets, click HERE. Alternatively, you can call 01904 942232 or head to the Ticket Office (next door to the Club Shop). For full information on Hospitality tickets, please contact email@example.com. #RiseUp | #WeAreYork