IT was unusual to hear Paul Crarey, who has always tried to find the positives in defeat, say he was “pretty embarrassed about our performance across the board” after Barrow’s 56-0 defeat at York City Knights, but on this occasion the words were fully justified, writes Raiders Review columnist Tony Colyer.

The Knights have progressed well since the highly-respected James Ford became coach and after their narrow victory away to Dewsbury Rams the week before, I was expecting a very tough encounter, but not a performance as bad as this.

I wasn’t there, but listened to the radio commentary and have since watched the highlights.

It was the Knights first victory in 14 attempts against Barrow – a run stretching back to June 2007 – but that hoodoo was put to bed in emphatic fashion at Bootham Crescent; a ground York will have to play on a bit longer as there has been a delay to the construction of the York Community Stadium, which means the Knights will not play Bradford Bulls to celebrate the opening.

No surprise, really – another British stadium over time and over budget!

Watching the highlights York played fast and furious resulting in nine impressive converted tries. On the contrary we looked a bit one-paced, as we did against Sheffield the previous week, and couldn’t counteract the intensity of their go-forward.

The win at Batley was fantastic, but in reality, we haven’t been at our best and the supporters are getting a bit worried if we have the squad for a competitive mid-table finish? The next two fixtures against Dewsbury and Rochdale should provide the answers.

The pre-season recruitment was very positive with the acquisition of three young potential stars in Deon Cross, Jake Spedding and Tee Ritson together with three experienced Papua New Guinean’s and supplemented by the signing of two ex-Super League forwards Jordan Walne and Josh Johnson.

Injuries haven’t helped; Gareth Hock’s shoulder injury sustained in a boxing match was a devastating blow. He looked fit and raring to go, and Declan Hulme and Ryan Duffy will also be missed. We look forward to the return of Dan and Shane Toal, Luke Creswell and Jamie Dallimore too.

The core players have struggled to find form too and it’s these factors which have contributed to our indifferent start.

We must beat Dewsbury tomorrow and then get a result at Rochdale next week before we, hopefully, take on the big boys such as Widnes the following week.

I say hopefully because the Vikings have administration hanging over them and their fixture with Sheffield Eagles was postponed.

So, Dewsbury at Craven Park tomorrow – who last weekend beat Swinton 38-24 after a defeat against York in their first game.

It will no doubt be tough against a big Dewsbury team, so keep the faith and support the Raiders to victory tomorrow.