Coral Challenge Cup round 5: Widnes Vikings 44 York City Knights 12

Widnes: Owens, Freeman, Brand, Gelling, Ince, Craven, Lyons, Cahill, Johnstone, J Chapelhow, Wilde, Dean, Leuluai. Subs (all used): T Chapelhow, Roby, Walsh, Farnworth.

Tries: Freeman 4, 36, 50, 66; Brand 40; Lyons 70; Ince 75; Owens 77.

Conversions: Owens 4, 36, 40, 66, 75, 77 (6/8).

Penalties: none.

Sent off: none.

Sin-binned: none.

Knights: Brown 7, Mazive 6, Bass 6, Rawsthorne 6, Whiteley 7, Heckford 7, Brining 6, Baldwinson 7, Jubb 9, Blagbrough 7, Hey 7, Jordan-Roberts 7, Porter 7. Subs (all used): Petersen 7, Stock 7, Kelly 6, Dixon 6.

Tries: Hey 2; Baldwinson 53.

Conversions: Rawsthorne 2 (1/1); Heckford 53 (1/1).

Penalties: none.

Sent off: none.

Sin-binned: none.

Man of the match: Will Jubb – not only played the full 80 minutes at hooker but played well from the first to the last. He also took over the captaincy when stand-in skipper Kriss Brining limped off after half an hour, and the responsibility seemed to lift him rather than weigh him down.

Referee: Jack Smith (Wigan) – decent enough.

Penalty count: 5-7

Half-time: 18-6

Weather: clear but increasingly cold

Attendance: 2,229

Moment of the match: Scoring at the end of the first set of a match is always going to be encouraging and York did so when debutant Lewis Heckford’s grubber kick was miscued by the defence, the ball hitting an upright and allowing Brad Hey to touch down.

Gaffe of the match: Jason Bass didn’t seem sure whether to challenge for the ball under a kick or allow opposing centre Keanan Brand to catch it and then tackle him. In the end he did neither, with Brand allowed a straightforward catch and finish to put Widnes 18-6 ahead on half-time.

Gamebreaker: York didn’t look likely to win the tie after falling 18-6 down at the break but were still hanging in there at 22-12 before running out of fit interchanges, then going down to 12 men when Jordan Baldwinson limped off with 15 minutes to go. Widnes scored two quickfire tries to put the game to bed and another two after Kevin Brown’s exit had York down to 11.

Match rating: this was a pretty open contest on a big artificial surface made for running rugby, aided by a clear crisp evening. Widnes looked the more dangerous even when it was 13 v 13, with York clearly having a plethora of new combinations all over the pitch. But the much-changed Knights hung in there until succumbing late on when one then two men down.