Workington Town 20 Newcastle Thunder 24

Workington Town obviously hadn't learned their lesson from last week as ill-discipline allowed visitors Newcastle Thunder to take the League One opener at Derwent Park.

A series of penalties gifted Newcastle openings and Benn Hardcastle had his kicking boots firmly on to take advantage of nearly every opportunity offered to him.

Playmaker Carl Forber tried his hardest to create chances for the home side and Phil Joseph was solid in the middle of the park while on-loan Wigan duo Jack Higginson and Macauley Davies provided a slight spark.

But too many players looked off their game and Town were left to rue a catalogue of errors and missed opportunities.

It wasn't a game to remember but it was Thunder who sneaked over the line 24-20 to do the double over their hosts.

Newcastle went close in the opening exchanges with Rhys Clarke held inches off the line.

Town fought back with a great set of six and Forber put a grubber kick through and new loan signing Higginson nearly capped his debut with a try.

But the ball bounced awkwardly and went over the dead ball line as he dived towards it.

Town were made to pay for a knock-on just inside their own half when Newcastle powered down to the try line.

And on the last tackle, Evan Simons surged over the try line next to the posts, taking several defenders with him. Hardcastle easily slotted over the extras and the visitors were 6-0 ahead.

It took a while for Town to respond and it was a defensive error from Newcastle that let them in.

Town looked as though they were struggling in attack when Forber put through a grubber kick on the last.

Newcastle full-back Derrell Olpherts, who was a thorn in the Town side throughout, went to collect but knocked the ball on and Callum Phillips was on hand to scoop it up and touch down, with Forber converting to level the score.

Once they had the upper hand, Town were determined to use it and a lovely jinking run from Higginson got Town into the danger area.

The ball came out to the left-hand side where Coward slipped a nice ball to Forber who, in turn, fed a charging Phil Joseph and he could not be stopped from crashing over the try line.

Forber was not tested with the conversion and the home side took the lead for the first time at 12-6.

Town kept coming and Ed Chamberlain was held up over the line before Newcastle had to kick the ball dead to stop Conor Fitzsimmons getting on to the end of a Forber kick.

But there was a blow to come for the home side as Newcastle sneaked a try back just before half time.

Winger Ali Blair twisted and sneaked in by the corner flag, leaving Hardcastle a tough conversion but he coolly slotted it over from the touchline to make it 12-12 at half time.

Town saw a chance go begging in the opening minutes of the second half as Forber looked to be through but passed to Brett Phillips and the ball bounced off his chest.

And they were hit even harder when they gave away two penalties in quick succession in front of their own sticks and Hardcastle stepped up to take the two points on each occasion.

Davies had a golden opportunity when he charged down a Newcastle kick but, instead of kicking it on, he opted to try and pick the ball up and missed.

Then a high tackle from Higginson saw the Workington side put on a team warning as ill-discipline began to sneak in.

But, against the run of play, it was Town who fought to get themselves back in contention as Davies crossed wide out to ease the pressure on the home side.

Unfortunately, Forber just could not tag on the extras from the touchline and the teams were level once again at 16-16.

The next score came among a horde of controversy. Tyler Craig put a kick in towards the Town try line and the home crowd were on their feet as it appeared that Sam Dowsett was pulled back off the ball.

But the referee allowed play to carry on and Simons touched down to put the visitors back in the lead, which was increased by the boot of Hardcastle.

The game turned increasingly scrappy and Newcastle picked up two late penalties midway up the field.

Both times they looked to go for goal and Hardcastle kicked the first from 45 metres out but missed the second, coming up just short.

Time was ticking down and then quick thinking from Jamie Doran gave Town a last chance as he kicked through and they gave it swift hands before it came out to Joe Hambley.

The winger showed his pace and raced down the field, dummied the defence and touched down.

Town declined the kick as they looked to get another try and they threw everything at the Newcastle defence in the last couple of minutes.

But it was too little too late and Newcastle took the win and the opening league points.

Town: Chamberlain, Hambley, Higginson, Davies, Mossop, Forber, C Phillips, Scholey, Dowsett, Curwen, B Phillips, Joseph, Howarth. Subs (all used): Doran, Coward, Fitzsimmons, Szostak.

Tries: C Phillips 27, Joseph 31, Davies 55, Hambley 78.

Goals: Forber 2/3.

Newcastle: Olpherts, Blair, Brown, Craig, Fox, Nicklas, Hardcastle, McAvoy, Simons, Clarke, H Aldous, Parker, J Aldous. Subs (all used): Teroi, Luckley, Rennie, Waller.

Tries: Simons 9, 65, Blair 37.

Goals: Hardcastle 6/7.

Referee: Liam Moore.

Half time: 12-12.

Penalties: 13-17.

Crowd: 660.

Star Man: Carl Forber.