YORK City Knights sealed consecutive victories in the Betfred Championship for the first time since May as they defeated Widnes Vikings 34-20 at the LNER Community Stadium.

Here are five things that we learnt from the game.

1. York are still battling despite distance from the play-offs

York’s run of six straight defeats in the Betfred Championship earlier this season looks to have all but ended their chances of making it into the play-offs, as many would have predicted them for at the start of the season.

While it remains mathematically possible, the Knights will continue to strive for a top six finish.

Their fixture list though looks daunting, with runaway top two Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers - who are yet to lose to the rest of division’s 12 - still to come.

But York’s win over Widnes showed that there remains plenty of fight still in this team, even if a best-of-the-rest finish of seventh now looks like the most realistic aim.

Head coach James Ford has questioned the team’s character before this year but as the Knights twice came from behind to win, they displayed plenty of attributes seen in the club’s recent successes.

2. Widnes were hugely disappointing in the second half

At the same time as praising York’s second-half comeback, it is also only right to discuss how disappointing Widnes were after half time.

York were clinical in scoring two quick-fire tries through Tyme Dow-Nikau early on to put the hosts into a two-point lead.

But Widnes worked their way back into the game and, either side of Brendan O’Hagan’s hat-trick try, they had spells of possession and territory that resulted in little.

Having scored some quality long-range tries in the first half, it was underwhelming to see them so cheaply give away possession in good ball.

It came though as little surprise given the Vikings’ recent form in the second halves of matches. Widnes have won the second half just once from their last seven league games.

Also, like in the reverse fixture, Widnes’ bench contained three inexperienced players aged 21 or younger who struggled to make the same impact as York’s interchanges.

3. Delight at Brendan O’Hagan return

It feels like an eternity ago now that York kicked off domestic rugby league’s 2021 season with a Betfred Challenge Cup win at Sheffield Eagles behind closed doors.

That day Brendan O’Hagan was the star of the show for the Knights, providing two assists and winning the man-of-the-match award to cap a perfect debut.

Unfortunately, through no fault of his own, O’Hagan has struggled to live up to that early season promise.

Both coronavirus and injury issues restricted him to featuring in just two of York’s last 14 games prior to the visit of Widnes.

Making his long-awaited return, the Australian showed plenty of class with a hat-trick of tries. The first was the best of the lot - a clever dummy near the line.

Given that his long-range kicking was restricted as he is eased back to full fitness, excitingly there is still plenty more to come from O’Hagan.

If York are to have any chance of making it into the top six, they need a fit and firing O'Hagan.

4. Promising signs for new half-back pairing

Having been without any fit half-backs available only last month, York found themselves in the luxurious position of being able to let a half go last week.

Having been unable to guarantee game time to Riley Dean, with O'Hagan, Corey Johnson and Matty Marsh all in the competing mix, the Warrington Wolves headed to Dewsbury Rams.

Against Widnes, O'Hagan and Johnson started in the halves and thus became the 12th different pairing to be fielded there by Ford this season.

Putting aside the strategic oddity of neither half taking much of the long kicking duties, Ford was pleased with Johnson's move in position.

"Corey is obviously a hooker but he’s playing in the halves and I think he played well," he said.

“He was a running threat, organised the edge well and Corey is a really talented rugby league player.

“He is willing to chase people back, to dive on loose, to try and bang big blokes - he’s a competitor and that’s the starting point for any rugby league player.

“If you haven’t got those kind of ingredients then you need to look for another sport.”

5. Jack Teanby impresses in the forward pack

Brendan O'Hagan and Tyme Dow-Nikau may have grabbed the headlines with their respective hat-trick and brace of tries, but arguably York's best player against Widnes was prop Jack Teanby.

The forward made consistent metres throughout the game, particularly in the first half, and Widnes struggled to handle him at first contact.

His late try, when he proved too big and strong from close range, was just rewards for his display.