YORK City Knights comfortably beat Hunslet Club Parkside in their second outing of the winter but a mixed performance will have left boss James Ford with food for thought – and a fair bit to work on.

The game at Dewsbury’s Tetley’s Stadium was the first round of the new pre-season Yorkshire Cup competition, and, while the League One champions were on a hiding to nothing against a top-quality amateur outfit, they breezed into the last four with a 34-4 victory courtesy of some quality moments.

However, a number of errors in possession suggested – as is usually the case so early in the year – that they need to improve cohesion and fluidity ahead of the opening game of the season proper, against Championship favourites Toronto Wolfpack at Bootham Crescent on February 3.

Next weekend's semi-final will give a better indication of where they are at.

Perhaps of more pressing concern for Ford, though, will be the injuries to four of his probable 17 that day, with League One Player of the Year Connor Robinson (ankle), hooker Harry Carter (calf) and props Jack Blagbrough (ankle) and Ronan Dixon (hip) all exiting early.

The quartet joined a growing injury list, with Matt Chilton having also picked up a knee problem in training, to be sidelined this weekend alongside packmen Sam Scott (groin), Joe Porter (knee) and Mike Kelly (groin).

Carter and trialist Reece Rushworth had only just passed late fitness tests to take places on the bench, the former getting his first run-out of pre-season along with veteran campaigners Ben Cockayne and Graeme Horne.

Captain Tim Spears, meanwhile, returned to training this week and will play next weekend, when hopefully one or two others will be back too.

In Spears' place at loose-forward here was Dave Petersen, celebrating winning a contract with his first start. He looked busy again, as he did in the opening run-out against Bradford Bulls on Boxing Day, though his second-half stint was cleaner.

Jason Bass, the winter arrival from Coventry, also got his first start in the centres, with Liam Salter, the marquee signing from Hull KR moving inside to the second row.

York opened the scoring inside five minutes on the back of a repeat set as a neat move to the right provided full-back Matty Marsh with the space to dummy and cross. Robinson added his first of his five conversions.

York lost possession in the next set after a misunderstanding on the left edge – Josh Jordan-Roberts’ intended pass to winger Judah Mazive hitting centre Perry Whiteley. Hunslet won the ball back at the end of their attacking set, too, as Ash Robson dropped a bomb.

York’s defence forced a quick turnover, though, and they upped their lead when Whiteley outjumped the defence underneath a Robinson chip.

Facing the weakest team in the competition, York were probably grateful for the opportunity to improve attacking fluidity in some areas, although the right side of Cockayne, Salter, Bass and Robson looked tidy early on.

That’s where the third try came from. Cockayne’s long pass was well taken on the byline by Robson who showed his football skills by sending the ball inside for the classy Marsh to cross again.

Jordan-Roberts had a try harshly disallowed for obstruction, running back on the angle from Robinson’s short ball, and the Knights claimed another bang on half-time only for ref Tom Crashley to rule a knock-on.

But York were otherwise unable to breach the Parkside rearguard in a first half which highlighted rustiness in attack, if not defence.

Cockayne had been a little quiet but created the first try of the second half out of nothing.

Heading into a cul-de-sac down the right, he darted to the left and sent an inch-perfect little kick on the angle for sub Brad Hey to score untouched.

Parkside are the country’s best amateur team and they relished this chance to take on the Knights. They too had errors in them in possession but they forced a dropout with a neat kick and rush, and three consecutive penalties brought further pressure on York’s line.

The Knights’ defence, though, so good last year, was up to the task here - as it was moments later when tricky Parkside half-back Dan Rowse chipped and chased over the defensive line. Hunslet regathered the ball but the scrambling defence rushed back and, while the amateurs still created a chance in the corner, the ball went to ground.

Ford gave all seven subs – 20-man squads are permitted in this competition - decent game-time but, while the changes from both sides did not overly affect the game’s rhythm, the combinations at times looked decidedly new.

York nonetheless increased their lead on 62 minutes when Stock darted onto a smart little ball to get his first try in Knights colours.

The sixth try was probably the pick. Petersen injected pace and his run was taken on well by Bass. The ball was transferred left via the half-backs where Hey dummied home in the left corner.

Parkside deserved something for their battling efforts and got it two minutes from time on the back of a long intercept by Micky Hoyle – the winger having surprised many by appearing so far infield.

He was chased down brilliantly by pacy trio Marsh, Whiteley and sub winger Kevin Brown and the rest got back to seemingly snuff out the danger. But an excellent move created an opening in the left corner, Brown caught out as Kieran Murphy scored.

Knights: Marsh, Mazive, Bass, Whiteley, Robson, Cockayne, Robinson, Dixon, Jubb, Teanby, Salter, Jordan-Roberts, Petersen. Subs (all used): Stock, Horne, Hey, Carter, Blagbrough, Rushworth, Brown.

Tries: Marsh 5, 24; Whiteley 11; Hey 43, 72; Stock 62.

Goals Robinson (5/6) 5, 11, 24, 43, 62.

Parkside: McShane, Squires, K Murphy, Waite, Hoyle, Hullock, Rowse, Foster, J Murphy, Stanley, Shulver, Thompson, Morgan. Subs (all used): Wheeler, Healy, Elliott, Boyce, York, Biscomb, Cunningham.

Try: K Murphy 78.

Referee: Tom Crashley.

Penalty count: York 6 Hunslet 9.

* HOST club Dewsbury Rams beat Featherstone Rovers 20-14 in the other Yorkshire Cup first round tie at Tetley's Stadium. Bradford host Halifax and Batley meet League One team Hunslet, also at Odsal, in the two remaining ties on Sunday.