York City Knights 40 Workington Town 8

Workington Town’s three-match unbeaten run in Betfred League One was ended in unceremonious fashion by title-chasers York City Knights.

Town, buoyed especially by their win over Newcastle Thunder last time out, had hoped to clamber into the play-off places with another notable victory but inconsistencies on the road resurfaced and a 40-8 defeat left them two points off fifth spot again, while York stayed on the coattails of leaders Bradford Bulls.

The Minster city side led 18-8 at half-time but the game was really won in the next half-hour when, while only scoring one more try, the hosts did not give Town a sniff. Home pressure and tired errors from the visitors being augmented by a smattering of curious refereeing calls for both teams.

Three further tries in the last 17 minutes put a gloss on proceedings.

Boss Leon Pryce had made three changes to the 17 that beat Newcastle so impressively.

Two came in the second row where on-loan Aussie ace Kyle Lovett was ruled out and Caine Barnes omitted.

Fit-again Karl Olstrom was back and Jacob Moore promoted to the starting 13, Kurt Maudling taking his place on the bench. Joe Hambley returned on the wing, in place of Frederick Bailey.

Workington’s neighbours, Whitehaven, had turned York over last time out and Town’s hopes of making it a Cumbrian double looked rosey early on when Carl Forber kicked them two points up after a penalty for obstruction.

They looked to glean further control but slowly and surely the Knights forged a foothold on proceedings, Town struggling to keep pace.

James Ford’s men had racked up a mammoth 300 points in their last three home League One matches against relative minnows, and they got on the board here in the 13th minute as Sam Scott crashed through several bodies.

Connor Robinson knocked over the first of six conversions. The half-back has now scored in every game for exactly a year after his debut on June 11, 2017.

Town were suddenly on the back foot and attempts to slow the game down were punished.

From one penalty conceded by Sean Penkywicz on Ash Robson, York spread the ball quickly left where Will Dagger’s pass sent in dual-reg Hull KR club-mate Will Oakes.

Town’s early promise with ball in hand was now looking more ragged and only a penalty for obstruction denied Joe Batchelor another home try.

The next time Town coughed up the ball in the face of eager defence, the Knights again crossed and this time the try stood.

Former Hull KR star Ben Cockayne made the break and drew in defenders before giving Mike Kelly an easy finish.

Old general Penkywicz was still busying himself and, when he won a penalty, Town got back in the game.

Fuifui Moimoi sucked men in and got out a quick play-the-ball, and Penkywicz’s bullet pass put Andrew Dawson in to make it 18-8.

The Knights had led Haven by the same half-time scoreline at the Recre, only to fall away in the second period.

The opposite happened here, with their defence this time as determined as it was structured, Town barely getting a set in home territory.

A few chances for York came and went, aside Batchelor getting through to make it 24-8 after 45 minutes.

But it was effectively game over when Cockayne scored a super solo try on 63 minutes.

Cockayne created the next one, too, going in at acting-half close to the sticks and putting Horne into an inexplicably large gap.

A short restart then backfired for Town as referee Liam Staveley ignored calls for a knock-on as York emerged with the ball. The set ended with defenders again dragged in and Batchelor getting his second try.

Town finally had an attacking set as the clock ticked down, on the back of their first penalty of the second half.

But the ball was fumbled, calls for reefing were ignored and a penalty for dissent underlined the visitors’ frustration.

Match Facts

York: Dagger, Oakes, Batchelor, Hey, Robson, Cockayne, C Robinson, Hawksworth, Ellis, A Robinson, Kelly, Scott, Spears. Subs (all used): Jubb, Horne, Roche, Porter.

Tries: Scott 13; Oakes 19; Kelly 31; Batchelor 45, 71; Cockayne 63; Horne 68.

Conversions: C Robinson 13, 19, 31, 45, 68, 71 (6/7).

Workington: Forrester, Hambley, Miller, Singleton, Patrick, Doran, Forber, Wilkes, Penkywicz, Scholey, Moore, Olstrom, Blagbrough. Subs (all used): Maudling, Curwen, Dawson, Moimoi.

Tries: Dawson 38.

Conversions: Forber 38 (1/1).

Penalty: Forber 4 (1/1).

Referee: Liam Staveley (Bradford)

Penalties: 10-8

Attendance: 1,399

Star Man: Sean Penkywicz