YORK City Knights secured safe passage into the next round of the Betfred Challenge Cup after winning 30-6 at Sheffield Eagles.

After a rapid start, with Perry Whiteley crossing for a second-minute opener, York were pegged back by Greg Burns midway through the half.

Having defended tough throughout the first period, they decisively struck two tries in three minutes before the break to secure an ultimately unassailable lead.

Whiteley and Ryan Atkins added second-half tries to increase the advantage and set up a second round tie against London Broncos, who beat Keighley Cougars 24-10 on Saturday.

In York’s first competitive game for more than a year, James Ford handed out five competitive debuts, with off-season recruits Ben Jones-Bishop, Atkins, Kieran Dixon, Brendan O’Hagan and Danny Kirmond all making their York City Knights bows.

And having won the man-of-the-match award and many plaudits in last week’s friendly defeat to Hull FC, half-back O’Hagan was involved early on, assisting Whiteley for an early opening try.

Off the back of a penalty, the Australian’s kick to the right corner was pounced on by the winger and Dixon converted from the flank.

Minutes later, again from a penalty, Sheffield should have levelled up when Ryan Johnson and Rob Worrincy got in each other’s way from Isaac Farrell’s kick, with the pair in acres of space in goal.

The Knights had more defending to do though when Whiteley dropped an Anthony Thackeray bomb.

That gave the Eagles the field position for Greg Burns to dart out of dummy half and cross from close range.

Sheffield were again gifted the territory when Jones-Bishop knocked on another flighted Thackeray kick, but Jack Teanby nicely fielded the follow-up grubber from ex-Knight Thackeray.

For half an hour, Mark Aston’s side had been largely on top, but the Knights ruthlessly punished them with two quick-fire tries.

After a set restart and then a penalty, which left them 10 metres out, substitute hooker Kriss Brining burst out of acting half and over the whitewash.

Then, from the restart, some stunning running from Marcus Stock saw him bypass Eagles defenders and set up Jones-Bishop to a run-in from 40m out. Dixon did the business with the boot and York were ahead by two scores.

In the final seconds of the half, a centre-field penalty 35m out allowed Dixon the chance to extend the advantage to 20-6 at the break.

After the break, again York raced out of the blocks and Jones-Bishop almost had a second after racing clear from an interception on his try line, but he was stopped 10m short. Brining was stopped inches out and then knocked on a couple of plays later.

Things went from bad to worse for Brining who, minutes later, skipped away from a tackle but immediately pulled up and hobbled off with a hamstring injury.

York displayed their rock-solid defence as the tide swung in Sheffield’s favour. Jason Bass made a heroic solo tackle on Ryan Millar to prevent the winger finding the left corner.

Then, a group of Knights players dragged Worrincy - which is no mean feat - over the sideline from Thackeray’s cut-out pass.

Ford’s side were duly rewarded for their hard yards, displaying their attacking flair on the hour.

A stunning cut-out pass from O’Hagan, which passed at least two team-mates, found Whiteley who only had the simple task of touching down in the corner. Dixon missed his first kick of the evening from the touchline.

With three minutes to go, Whiteley looked set to score a hat-trick after O’Hagan scampered clear. One-on-one with a defender, he chose to kick, but got it horribly wrong and there was no sensational finish for York.

But there remained time for Atkins to score on his first start, collecting Jones-Bishop’s kick and strolling under the stick. Dixon added the extras.

Sheffield: Guzdek, Worrincy, Johnson, Glover, Millar, I Farrell, Thackeray, Knowles, G Burns, James, Davies, J Farrell, Brown.

Subs (all used): Ward, Broadbent, P Burns, Dickinson.

Tries: G Burns (16)

Goals: I Farrell (1/1)

York: Jones-Bishop, Whiteley, Bass, Atkins, K Dixon, Marsh, O’Hagan, Baldwinson, Jubb, Teanby, Clarkson, Kirmond, Washbrook.

Subs (all used): Brining, Stock, Green, Porter.

Tries: Whiteley (4, 60), Brining (32), Jones-Bishop (35), Atkins (80)

Goals: Dixon (5/6)

Star man: Marcus Stock. His dazzling run around halfway teed up Jones-Bishop’s try, which decisively took York two scores clear, minutes after Brining’s score.