Knights leapfrog Raiders into top

The Newcastle Knights have staged a gutsy second half effort to defeat the Canberra Raiders 20-14 at EnergyAustralia Stadium tonight.

The victory sees the Knights into the top eight, while the Raiders drop to ninth position.

In what is turning into a tight contest for eighth position, the Raiders will slip further down the ladder should Wests Tigers overcome the Rabbitohs this weekend.

In a low scoring match, the Raiders seemed to have the better of possession and field position in the first half and were dominating the ruck in the first 20 minutes.

After 34 minutes, the Raiders held an 8-0 lead and their fans had reason to feel confident. But the Knights struck back late in the first and half and at the break, the Raiders held a tenuous 8-4 lead.

The second half saw the Knight spring into action with tries to Steven Witt and Michael Ennis, who showed his skills in the 56th minute with a neat step and powerful run, to put the Knights 10 points in front.

The Raiders got within two points with a try to Nathan Smith. But The Knights were not to be denied with Anthony Quinn crossing eight minutes from fulltime.

EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Steve Lyons Video Referee: Chris Ward Touch Judges: Jason Weinstein, Matt Cecchin

Scorers: KNIGHTS 20 Tries: Hall, Witt, Ennis, Quinn Goals: K Gidley 2/4 defeated RAIDERS 14 Tries: McLinden, Smith Goals: Schifcofske 3/4

By the clock: 0 min: Very little in this match tonight. For the Raiders, Jason Croker will be playing at five eighth with Matthew Gafa on the wing. Newcastle as per the card. The fans out in force in a chilly Newcastle. Kick off!

9 min: NO TRY - Raiders denied after a bat back in the in-goal goes forward.

11 min: TRY - Raiders. Mark McLinden rcaes down the sideline to score in the corner. Follows misdirected bomb from the Knights. Conversion Clinton Schifcofske is wide. Raiders 4-0

20 min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Follows an intercept which placed the Raiders 30m out before a play-the-ball infringement. Raiders 6-0

30 min: NEWS - Raiders beginning to dominate proceedings.

34 min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Raiders 8-0

37 min: TRY - Knights. Craig Hall scores in the corner. K Gidley sideline conversion misses. Raiders 8-4

HALF TIME SUMMARY: It's really been a half favouring the Raiders although the scoreline indicates a much closer contest. Possession fairly equal but the Raiders often in better field position.

Second half underway...

50 min: NO TRY - Knights denied by video ref.

53 min: TRY - Knights. Steve Witt scores under the posts following a big bust from Adam Woolnough. Conversion K Gidley. Knights 10-8

56 min: TRY - Knights. Michael Ennis steps through with some neat footwork to score 10m in from touch. A powerful run from 20m out. Conversion OK. Knights 16-6

67 min: TRY - Raiders. Nathan Smith continues his try scoring ways for 2004. Follows a fumble from the Knights. Conversion OK. Knights 16-14

72 min: TRY - Knights. Anthony Quinn races through to pounce on a Ennis grubber to score out wide. Conversion misses. Knights 20-14

77 min: NEWS - Field goal attempt from Kurt Gidley (Knights) goes wide.

FULL TIME SUMMARY: This was a match that dead even in terms of possession and was there for the taking. At half time, it seemed to be within the grasp of the Raiders. But when push came to shove, it was the Knights' forwards who stood up and took charge, coming away with a hard fought and well deserved win. Both sides having trouble completing their sets - in the end, the Raiders just missing too many tackles. ----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - A Woolnough (Knights) 2 - M Ennis (Knights) 1 - D Buderus (Knights) -----------------------------------------