Whatever Garry Atkins has instilled into the York Wasps players it is certainly paying dividends.

They say a change is as good as a rest and so it is proving as the Wasps followed up their win at Lancashire last week with their best performance of the season to make it two wins from two since Atkins took over as caretaker coach.

There is a very different look about the York team under Atkins' influence.

They are playing with new-found confidence and freedom which yesterday was simply too much for play-off hopefuls Barrow.

Atkins has introduced a new defensive pattern which worked wonders with York missing just four tackles in the first half and 14 in total.

In attack too there were plenty of positives as the Wasps made just 15 errors.

For once the half-backs showed some creativity, with stand-off Mark Cain scoring two brilliant individual tries and Gareth Dobson trying hard in his first ever match at scrum-half.

It meant the Barrow boys were always second best, even when they led 10-0 after half an hour. Indeed, it was only a mounting penalty count against York and the steady boot of scrum-half Darren Holt which kept the visitors in the game.

A few weeks ago the Wasps would have wilted under such a deficit but not anymore.

This time they kept their heads, and their hearts, despite some questionable decisions by referee Paul Lee, to give the Border Raiders another taste of away day blues.

What a shame that so few people witnessed the spectacle.

The crowd of 388 was the lowest ever at Huntington Stadium but how those stay-away fans must have wished they had made the effort.

It was an absorbing game which could have gone either way right up until the dying seconds. The drama continued until the final whistle as Barrow substitute William Burns was shown the red card in the last minute for elbowing Mark Cain in the face which laid out the Wasps stand-off.

That sparked the second brawl in the space of a couple of minutes. The first came when Cain was sent sprawling by what appeared to be a high tackle. It resulted in a war of words between Lee McTigue and Holt and a mass punch-up which was put on report.

It was a sad end to what had been a fine game but wouldn't have concerned York unduly after their fantastic fightback.

Barrow took the lead against the run of play when hooker Dave Clark broke down the left wing from his own half and out-paced Rob Lee, playing his final game before returning to Hull, stepped easily inside full-back John McCracken and touched down near the posts.

Holt added two penalties to the conversion - one for holding down and the other for offside - to move ten points clear. They also had a try disallowed when Stewart Rhodes crashed over the line only to be held on his back.

But Barrow, who have turned their Craven Park home into a fortress this season, have been unable to reproduce that form on their travels and again looked out of sorts, despite the healthy lead.

Some of the players were reportedly travel sick on their way to York which may have accounted for their lack of drive.

Whatever the reason York were only too pleased to capitalise and gave themselves the perfect tonic shortly before the interval.

Cain, who revelled in his new half-back partnership with Dobson, looked to be going nowhere when he received the ball from a scrum 30 metres away from the Barrow line. But he dummied past the first defender, danced round another and cut straight through the middle to the line where he was brought down just short only for his momentum to carry him over.

Gray added the extras and, though Holt added another penalty on the stroke of half-time, the try had given York a lifeline.

They levelled the scores four minutes into the second half when winger Max Ryce, playing his first game as a professional, took the ball from acting half inches from the line, stayed low and forced his way over despite the attentions of three Barrow players.

After Holt and Gray exchanged penalties, York finally went ahead for the first time 15 minutes from the end, and again it was that man Cain who did the damage.

He streaked through the defence from halfway, looked to pass to the supporting Darren Callaghan on his inside but elected to go himself which fooled the Barrow defence and allowed Cain to score near the posts for Gray to convert.

It set up a frantic last 10 minutes which saw new York skipper Alan Pallister and Barrow centre Stewart Magorian both go close.

After a spell of pressure Barrow did manage a try when John Okul used his strength to score in the corner.

The conversion would have unjustly given them a share of the spoils but thankfully Holt's attempt from the touchline flew across the face of the goal to keep Atkins' unbeaten record intact.

Northern Ford Premiership, Sunday, April 2, at Huntington Stadium

York 20, Barrow 18

YORK WASPS: John McCracken 6, Max Ryce 7, Rob Lee 7, Andrew Lambert 7, Leroy McKenzie 6, Mark Cain 8, Gareth Dobson 7, Rich Hayes 8, Alan Pallister 8, Steve Hill 8, Andy Hill 8, Chris Judge 7, Spencer Hargrave 7.

Subs: Kevin Gray (for McKenzie 24) 7, Lee McTigue (A Hill 63) -, Darren Callaghan (McCracken 50) 7, Mick Hagan (Hargrave 72) -

Tries: Cain (34 mins, 64), Ryce (44)

Conversions: Cain 3. Penalties: Cain 1

Guildford Construction/ Evening Press Man of the Match

Mark Cain: Looked a different player from earlier in the season, worked hard and scored two solo tries which won the match

BARROW: Rod Maybon, Glenn Hutton, Darren Carter, Stewart Magorian, John Okul, Tane Manihera, Darren Holt, Mike Whitehead, Dave Clark, Steve Jackson, Stewart Rhodes, Geoff Luxon, Gary Charlton.

Subs: Jason Thurlow (Maybon 17), Damien Whitter (Jackson 32), William Burns (Whitter 66)

Not used: Chris Massey

Tries: Clark (10mins), Okul (71)

Conversions: Holt 2. Penalties: Holt 3

Sent-off: Burns (80mins, elbow)

York Barrow

Penalties 7 11

Scrums won 8, 9

40/20 kicks 0 1

Half-time 6 12

Referee: Paul Lee (Leigh)

Attendance: 388

Match rating: 8/10