Gateshead narrowly missed out on ending a run of 23 games without a win on Sunday, but the signs are positive for the North East club.
Thunder last tasted victory in a Challenge Cup tie against amateur side Milford Marlins last March, while they haven’t won against professional opposition since March 21, 2010, when they were 24-18 victors over London Skolars.
Since that win, Thunder have played 45 games against professional opposition without a win, but they threatened to end that run for large parts of their game at York on Sunday, before eventually going down 26-22 to a late Chris Green try.
Winger Ashley Williams told the club’s official website: “After the game I put my head in my hands and was truly gutted. It was ours for the taking and we just lost out.
“When I looked back at the game I am happy and impressed with how we’ve all come along. It was a superb performance and we should all be happy.
“The key thing is now to just keep taking that extra percentage into each training session and working on our weak points and this season is going to be a very impressive season for all of us.”
Coach Kevin Neighbour added: “I’m proud of the effort and application of the team. I thought this was by far our strongest performance so far.
“The team and squad are slowly starting to gel and understand how different people play within our system. Next up the easy challenge of Leigh.”