YORK Acorn reached the third round of the Coral Challenge Cup competition by virtue of a 34-14 home win over Cumbrian outfit Barrow Island.

They were eventually indebted to a much-improved second-half performance that saw them turn an 8-6 half-time advantage into a winning scoreline that looked more comfortable than it really was.

The crucial period of the game came either side of the half-time break, when they went from 6-4 down to eventually taking a match winning 24-6 by the 55-minute mark.

In a tough, tight first half, the first points came on seven minutes when a classic Antony Chilton kick out wide was grounded for an unconverted try by winger Luke Swales.

The game then became a battle of committed defending and the sides matched each other until the 25th minute when Acorn were guilty of poor defending on their own line and allowed Barrow hooker Shane Sanderson to walk over from the play-the-ball. Goal-kicking winger Sam Jones added the goal.

Overall Acorn were solid enough in defence with key performances coming from the hooker James Mountford in the middle while centre Mark Sanderson and Jordan Hyde took the plaudits on the edges.

Crucially for Acorn, they managed to get the next score. When full-back Joe Budd and half-back Lewis Brown combined brilliantly to create the space from where in-form centre Ryan Gallacher scythed through for a 37th-minute unconverted try.

Acorn dominated the opening quarter of the second half and started to dominate the floor with acting halves man-of-the-match Mountford and Lewis Lord proving unstoppable with or without ball in hand.

Just a minute after the restart, Acorn capitalised on back-to-back sets to score a try off a planned move when second-rower Haiden Barber crossed for another unconverted try, and minutes later, Swales crashed over in the corner. Chilton added the conversion, as he did for Lord's 55th-minute touchdown.

On 63 minutes, Barrow Island's star man and winger Jonathon Walsh capitalised on an attacking kick out wide followed by some indifferent defending to notch an unconverted try.

Acorn's response was powerful to say the least. Prop forward Tim Stubbs somehow managed to free his hands as he was crashing over before stretching out to score a well-deserved try, again goaled by Chilton.

Barrow Island centre Nathan Sneesby took full advantage of missed tackles down Acorn's right to notch his side an unconverted try but Acorn had the last say when - in the final minute - Lord pulled off a one-on-one ball steal in the Barrow 20 and raced over.