York Knights fell to a 24-8 defeat at home to league leaders Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Championship at the LNER Community Stadium.
York took the lead twice inside the opening 40 minutes through tries from Ata Hingano and AJ Towse, but a brace from Joey Leilua saw Featherstone lead 10-8 at the break.
A converted try and a penalty from Mark Kheirallah extended Featherstone’s lead in the second half, before a late score from Connor Jones sealed the two points for Sean Long’s side.
Attempting to end a run of four games without a win, the Knights headed into their third meeting of the season against Featherstone, after Long’s side ran out as winners in the previous two contests.
Andrew Henderson’s side was given a massive boost ahead of kick off, as Oli Pratt and Jordan Thompson returned to the team, as well as new signing Brendan Santi, who made his debut for the Knights.
The Knights took the lead after 10 minutes as Hingano intercepted a Featherstone pass towards the right, before the half-back raced 60 metres clear to score the first points of the afternoon.
Featherstone responded through Leilua’s try to the left of the posts, as the centre crashed over to score after getting onto the end of Thomas Lacans' short ball.
Kheirallah converted with the boot to edge the visitors ahead with the the first of his four conversions.
York edged their way back in front through Towse’s try, with the winger scoring out wide after Luke Briscoe was unable to gather Hingano’s high bomb on the last tackle.
The league leaders responded immediately to regain the lead as Kheirallah’s break through the York defence saw him pick out Leilua, who barged his way through a handful of defenders from close-range to score his second.
After only kicking one from two conversions in the first half, Kheirallah converted an early penalty for Featherstone, which took the score to 8-12 only eight minutes after the restart.
Kheirallah added more points to the scoreboard as this time he went over to score Featherstone’s third try of the afternoon, supporting John Davies inside after a break from deep through the York defence.
Both teams had to adjust to the changing weather conditions as the rain started to pour down in North Yorkshire and Briscoe had to react fast to send the ball out for a goal-line drop out as Towse closed him down after Hingano’s grubber towards the left corner.
Shortly after having a try ruled out for knocking on, Jones went over to seal the win for Featherstone after a scoot from dummy half. Kheirallah once again added the extras.
York: Brown, Towse, Harrison, Pratt, Ward, Hingano, Daley, Ta’ai, Jubb, Santi, Field, Clarkson, Cunningham
Subs (all used): Fitzsimmons, Thompson, Michael, Jones
Tries: Hingano (10’), Towse (29’)
Goals: Harrison (0/2)
Featherstone: Kheirallah, Briscoe, Leilua, Hankinson, Gale, Aekins, Lacans, Springer, Wildie, Lockwood, Day, Bussey, Moors
Subs (all used): Jones, Davies, Hardcastle, Yei
Tries: Leilua (23’, 34’), Kheirallah (52’), Jones (77’)
Goals: Kheirallah (4/5)
Geoff Pryce Player of the Match in partnership with Isaac Poad Brewing: Joe Brown
Referee: James Vella