JAMES FORD hailed Tyme Dow-Nikau as the deserved man-of-the-match award winner after York City Knights’ 30-12 victory over Whitehaven.

Dow-Nikau produced a brilliant piece of play to assist Perry Whiteley’s try and put the Knights into a three-score lead against Haven.

The centre had earlier come up with some bruising defence and strong charges forward in a top-quality all-round display.

Signed from League One side North Wales Crusaders, Dow-Nikau has improved immeasurably since his off-season switch and Ford felt his plaudits were justified.

Speaking about his pass for Whiteley, the head coach said: “That was class. That was a proper piece of centre play and I don’t think we see enough of that in today’s game.

“It was a proper centre play, beating a man, being hard to handle and being able to find a pass for a winger.

“That was great to watch.”

“He was hard to handle on his yardage carries,” Ford added of his overall performance. “He got on his front and got it going quick. He had some strong defence.

“I was really pleased with what Tyme did for the vast majority of the game.”

Dow-Nikau, the son of York and Castleford legend Tawera Nikau, struggled to make an immediate impact at the Knights and has had to wait patiently for a run of games in the side.

“Since he walked through the door in pre-season, he’s always been a big, strong, athletic young man who can cause people problems,” Ford said.

“He just probably pushed the pass a little too much here and there and was maybe rash defensively once or twice.

“But I just think that he has improved out of sight. He’s been a real key performer for us at the minute.

“It could be too with building relationships with people around him and probably getting more clarity in terms of what we want and value at this club, because it’s slightly different at different clubs.

“It takes time for people to settle into clubs. I’m really pleased that he has preserved.”

York’s win over Whitehaven saw them move up to eighth in the Betfred Championship table and keep hold of their slim ambitions of a play-off finish.

It also provided a strong response from the bruising defeat to Featherstone Rovers last time out, in which York suffered multiple injuries through the 80 minutes.

“We had a good look at the Featherstone game,” said Ford.

“There was some stuff that we wanted to do better, we’ve worked at it in the week and I could see a big step in the right direction in terms of the target areas.

“Whitehaven are a good team. They very different to Featherstone so we had to tweak some things.

“I’m really pleased with the amount of information that they players took on. They took that on the field and performed really well."