YORK City Knights booked their place in the third round of the Betfred Challenge Cup after a nerve-wracking 14-2 win at London Broncos.

The game was nip-and-tuck throughout and York led by just six points for the majority of the second period after a try-less first-half.

Liam Salter’s late try settled the type of thrilling tie that gives the Challenge Cup such a strong reputation.

While points were at a premium, the action was certainly not and York have been perfectly tested ahead of next weekend’s Betfred Championship opener against Toulouse.

But, most crucially, a third round spot in the Cup has been secured as has an 1895 Cup semi-final, with just one game separating York from Wembley Stadium.

James Ford made five changes to the side which beat Sheffield last week, with Adam Cuthbertson, Tyme Dow-Nikau and Daniel Barcoe coming in for their Knights debuts.

Kriss Brining and Marcus Stock were out through injury, while Ben Jones-Bishop, Jack Teanby and Perry Whiteley dropped out.

London had injury issues of their own and more significant ones too. They were without practically their entire spine, with full-back James Meadows, half-backs Jarrod Sammut and Cory Aston and hooker Matty Fozard all missing.

The absence of Meadows in particular was keenly felt in the opening set, with a Brendan O’Hagan bomb dropped by stand-in Ed Chamberlain 20m out.

The Knights couldn’t capitalise though, with the Broncos fielding a Matty Marsh grubber.

Referee Marcus Griffiths wasn’t shy of his whistle early on, giving out seven penalties or six-agains in the first 10 minutes.

York were almost in from the last of those, though O’Hagan failed to retrieve a short pass a from metres short of the line.

A six-again to the Broncos then a penalty centre-field to the capital club allowed them to put the first points on the board with Chamberlain the goal scorer on 22 minutes.

Another penalty, this time to York, again almost laid on a try. Cuthbertson produced a trademark and implausible offload to Joe Porter and then the visitors switched left but Jason Bass could only dive into touch in the corner.

London were beginning to assert some relative control as the half wore on, with the sheer size of their forward pack beginning to tell.

Sam Davis was stopped just short before Jacob Jones was held up. Minutes later, the Knights’ scramble defence was watertight to prevent Davis not scoring having picked up an incredible offload from the floor from close range.

York held firm and produced two late chances. After turning down a centre-field kick from 35m out, the Knights went wide but Atkins’ ball to Bass was forward.

Then, on the back of an error and a Marsh half-break, Kieran Dixon decided to kick while in a tackle and it was easily defended, leaving the hosts 2-0 up at the break.

The constant flow of penalties didn’t let up after the break, with two given inside the first two minutes.

The latter, to York, set up the first try of the game, with Cuthbertson putting Porter through a gap to touch down under the posts.

Ex-London star Kieran Dixon easily added the extras.

On 52 minutes, York could and should have scored again. O’Hagan accelerated through a small gap and fed Marsh, who was stopped by a try-saving tackle from Chamberlain.

The Knights went wide on the last but Danny Kirmond couldn’t ground it.

Again came Ford’s side, with Barcoe - not looking at of place on his pro debut - knocking on from his dummy-half dart over the line.

Like in the first-half, York showed their defensive character and after London forced a goal-line drop-out, Dow-Nikau produced a vital last-ditch tackle out wide.

On the hour, Will Jubb returned to the field and was caught with a high shot. This allowed Kieran Dixon to slot over another penalty for an 8-2 lead.

The nerves among the Knights directors - positioned close to the press benches - were high as the game entered its final dozen minutes.

Kieran Dixon was consummate under the high ball and York were likewise in defence as London continued to profit from six-again and penalty calls.

With three minutes to go, York finally sealed it. A forceful wide pass from O’Hagan then found its way to Salter who ran in unopposed.

Kieran Dixon scored his third goal for a 14-2 lead as it would remain by the final hooter.

London: Chamberlain, Boafo, Lovell, Hodson, Miski, Leyland, Horsman, Navarrete, Davis, Krasniqi, Walters, Jones, Hindmarsh-Takyi.

Subs (all used): Richards, Gwaze, Latu, Williams.

Tries: None

Goals: Chamberlain (1/1)

York: K Dixon, Bass, Atkins, Salter, Dow-Nikau, Marsh, O’Hagan, R Dixon, Jubb, Baldwinson, Kirmond, Clarkson, Spears.

Subs (all used): Barcoe, Green, Porter, Cuthbertson.

Tries: Porter (42), Salter (77)

Goals: Dixon (3/3)

York’s Star Man: Adam Cuthbertson. The signature offload was on show and his pass set away Porter for the game’s first try.