BEATEN by a “hungrier and more desperate team” was coach John Duffy’s assessment of Leigh’s latest big match defeat.

Kevin Brown’s debut try helped Centurions into a winning second half position.

They led 18-8, 19-18 and had a late Ryan Brierley conversion attempt to snatch victory in the side’s final home game of the regular season.

But the kick failed and for a second time in 2019,the City Knights claimed a one-point success.

The play-off route has still to be confirmed. However, on the evidence of this disappointment and other key defeats, including York and Featherstone away plus Widnes in the 1895 Cup, it could be a short journey.

“To go 18-8 up and not shut the game out is disappointing at this stage of the season,” said Duffy.

“Congratulations to York, they wouldn’t go away as we had said all week. We lost to a hungrier and more desperate team.

“We made too many errors at the beginning of the game. Our second start was superb and got us to where we needed to be. But we just didn’t close the game off.

“It seems we were happy just to get in the five and that’s us. We will have to look at ourselves this week.”

Leigh’s 10-points cushion after 45 minutes was wiped out by two tries in nine minutes.

Josh Woods booted a drop goal to regain the lead only for Liam Harris’s converted try 12 minutes from time to secure the points.

Leigh also led 12-8 at the end of a first half low on quality and high on mistakes and penalties.

Two knock ons and a ball steal on Ryan Brierley kept Centurions pinned back with Matt Chilton and Matty Marsh going close for the visitors.

Luke Douglas’s fumble after 17 minutes saw York make the breakthrough.

Connor Robinson and Sam Scott combined and Will Oakes finished at the corner. Robinson goaled from the touchline, the cue for Duffy to leave his seat in the stand and take up a position by the dugouts.

Referee Marcus Griffiths’ whistle was a frequent interruption but between the blasts Brown scored a trademark try in his first game since playing for parent club Warrington in last season’s Grand Final. Brierley goaled to make I six-all.

A latest penalty-this time against Centurions-led to Robinson booting York back in front after 32 minutes.

However, Leigh hit back. Luke Adamson was held up over the line, Cory Paterson stopped just short before Liam Hood scooted over from dummy half. Brierley goaled.

Leigh kept up the pressure at the start of the second period and extended their advantage after 45 minutes.

This time Brown was the provider with a stabbed kick behind the posts that Brierley pounced on before the ball ran out of play.

There were suspicions Marsh bounced the ball when York replied three minutes later. But the try stood and Robinson goaled to cut Leigh’s lead to four points.

Appeals for a forward pass against Robinson were also rejected by Mr Griffiths after Oakes crossed for an equalising touchdown in the 57th minute.

Woods slotted a 65th minute drop goal to nudge Leigh 19-18 in front before on loan Hull FC stand-off Harris side-stepped past Mitch Cox after Brad Hey broke from half-way to score a converted try.

Late pressure twice forced York to drop out and Liam Forsyth gave Leigh hope with a try in the right corner. Brierley’s kick could have won the game but the ball was wide and short to complete York’s double.

Match stats:


Brierley; Cox, I Thornley, Forsyth, Marsh: Brown, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Emmitt, T Adamson, Thompson, Cator; substitutes: Hood, Paterson, Clark, L Adamson.

Tries: Brown (30), Hood (39), Brierley (45), Forsyth (75)

Goals: Brierley (3)

DG: Woods (65)

York City Knights:

Marsh; Oakes, Bass, Hey, Chilton; Harris, Robinson; Baldwinson, Jubb, Horne, Porter, Scott, Spears: substitutes: Brinning, Stock, Blagborough, Kelly.

Tries: Oakes (18, 57), Marsh (48), Harris (68)

Goals: Robinson (3)

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

Half-time: 12-8

Attendance: 3,408