YORK City Knights rallied to come from behind and defeat Widnes Vikings 35-14 at the DCBL Stadium.

Having taken an early lead, York had been their own worst enemy in the first half through a series of avoidable errors that left them trailing 14-8 at the break.

As seen so often with this Knights side though, character comes in abundance and with more forwards named than Widnes they showed their class in the second half.

They scored 27 unanswered points after the break and barely gave Widnes a sniff of their own line in a completely contrasting performance to the one in the first 40 minutes.

It should also be said that Widnes looked a far better side than seen over recent weeks and, if they can sort out their penalty count, they will be challenging again soon enough.

As expected, head coach James Ford handed out York debuts to loanees Mikey Lewis and James McDonnell.

Lewis replaced Jason Bass, with Kieran Dixon returning to the wing, while McDonnell took the place of the injured Danny Kirmond at second-row.

Sam Scott also came in for the hurt Tim Spears in the back row.

Widnes also brought in a playmaker as Danny Craven returned to the halves and Matty Smith made the unorthodox switch to loose forward.

The aforementioned Craven almost teed up an early try for Widnes off the back of a clever 40/20 kick, but the half-back could only knock on a poor pass round his ankles.

York quickly made them pay when, after a Widnes forward pass in their own half, Riley Dean made a half-back and offloaded for Sam Scott to charge over.

The Knights added to that lead ten minutes later as they again profited from Widnes mistakes.

Kieran Dixon added to his previous conversion from a penalty in front of the posts.

Similarly though, Widnes got themselves back in the game off the back of some York ill-discipline.

They gave away back-to-back penalties and Widnes thought they’d scored when Craven touched down Shane Grady’s knock-back, which was ruled forward.

But there was no such vagueness when Adam Lawton proved too strong for the Knights defence from a short pass close to the line.

Steve Tyrer’s kick reduced the deficit to just two points.

Both sides were culpable of excessive errors and poor discipline, but Widnes looked a shadow of the side that were beaten 70-0 in a record defeat to Toulouse last time out and more like the outfit tipped for promotion at the start of the year.

York would go into half-time behind as Widnes continued to display their ability at making metres. But the visitors had plenty of opportunities themselves.

Twice on the back of penalties, York cheaply lost the ball through a forward pass and then a knock on on halfway and a Lewis cut-out pass to Dixon saw the winger go close to the line but lose the ball in the tackle.

The Vikings took full advantage of the York errors through their Jack Owens as the captain streaked from his own 10m line to the opposition’s, twisting past full-back Lewis on his way.

From the next play, Deon Cross went in under the sticks.

On the stroke of half-time, Tyrer added to his two conversions with an easy penalty goal to leave the hosts 14-8 ahead at the break.

That first-half performance was reminiscent of the opening round clash with Toulouse, where York’s inability to complete their sets was to blame for the defeat.

Giving York some hope, in that half, the Knights lost two forwards through injury, a problem they did not have this time around, while Widnes looked light in the pack, with Smith in there and two backs on the bench.

That numerical advantage seemed to play some part after the restart as the Knights pack quickly made metres upfield and forced a repeat set early on.

They couldn’t score that time but they did in their next set when Ben Jones-Bishop breached the line from Jordan Baldwinson’s pass and beat off a defender to score.

The Knights looked confident, as keenly illustrated when they turned down a kickable penalty 30m out, only for Marsh’s grubber to be blocked at the end of the set.

Another penalty saw York go close, with Ryan Atkins held up, but Widnes were defensively good enough.

Finally though, York breached their goal-line. An eighth Knights penalty put them in striking range once more and Sam Scott produced a moment of class to somehow get away an offload while surrounding by bodies and Danny Washbrook was on hand to capitalise.

Dixon goals followed both those tries to put the away side into a six-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Widnes retaliated and threatened off the back of successive penalties but York defended stoically.

With a dozen minutes to go, the win was secured and what a way to seal it. The impressive Lewis, good in attack and defence, went for an ambitious kick-and-chase that was judged perfectly as he gleefully grounded the ball.

He was described in the build-up by Ford as a “borderline cocky” character, which the move seemed to confirm.

Dixon converted and, when once more Widnes conceded back-to-back penalties, he added a sixth goal.

Widnes’ bodies were clearly tiring but regardless, York finished in style. They added a drop-goal, through Dean, and Lewis capped his man-of-the-match display with another try from Dixon’s break, which the latter converted.

Widnes: Owens, Hatton, Tyrer, Spedding, Cross, Craven, Lyons, Cook, B O’Neill, Baker, Grady, Robson, Smith.

Subs (all used): Lawton, Edge, Tilleke, Hill.

Tries: Lawton (26), Cross (38)

Goals: Tyrer (3/3)

York: Lewis, Jones-Bishop, Salter, Atkins, K Dixon, Marsh, Dean, Green, Jubb, Stock, McDonnell, Scott, Clarkson.

Subs (all used): Washbrook, Porter, Baldwinson, Cuthbertson.

Tries: Scott (7), Jones-Bishop (45), Washbrook (60), Lewis (68, 80)

Goals: K Dixon (7/7)

Field goals: Dean (79)

York’s star man: Mikey Lewis. Two tries on debut combined with some vocal leadership at the back and some strong defence and ball-carrying. Plenty to be excited about if he can stay a while at York.