THE last time York City Knights got a hiding from Featherstone, they followed it up with a startling shock victory over Widnes Vikings at Bootham Crescent.

Amazingly, James Ford’s men have just done the exact same thing again, and this time on the Vikings’ own turf, to complete a magical league double over the former Super League side and go back up to third in the Championship. Yes, York fans, third.

The 16-12 scoreline told only one bit of the story, though, on a day of bloopers, brilliance and some crazy drama – York somehow keeping the Vikings out in the second half before coming up with a winner out of nothing at the other end.

Well, it wasn’t quite out of nothing – it was out of a certain Taioalo ‘Junior’ Vaivai’s book of magic tricks.

Partly at fault for one of the Vikings’ two first-half tries along with Will Oakes, he more than made amends with some fabulous centre play, a powerful finish and a simply stunning piece of work that created what turned out to be the winning try against the run of play for his fellow Hull KR loanee.

His new team were trailing 12-10 and had been on the back foot, but in a rare second-half attack, the former NRL star drew in countless tacklers and got out a miraculous pass around and between defenders for Oakes to run home.

It is something Vaivai's movie star cousin, The Rock, might have been able to do - but only with the aid of special effects.

Connor Robinson curled in a beauty of a touchline conversion and defeat turned to triumph.

Ford’s team, on paper, was stronger than last week, with Vaivai and Oakes making their debuts on the left flank after their high-profile arrivals. Aside their first-half blooper, their threat, especially that of Vaivai, was obvious throughout.

Their inclusions took the number of loanees in the side up to four, alongside Hull’s Liam Harris and Newcastle’s Harry Aldous.

There were also no fewer than six alterations in personnel to the team defeated by Rovers - Josh Jordan-Roberts and the fit-again Sam Scott returning to the second row, with Kriss Brining back as interchange hooker and Graeme Horne passed fit to add his nous to the pack. Scott rattled the home fans; Horne in particular excelled.

Harris, full-back last week, also swapped places with Matty Marsh and went to half-back, re-forming the partnership with Connor Robinson that shone several times in 2017. He was quiet in the second half but had enjoyed an excellent first, cutting open the defence and scoring a crucial try.

Out went Kevin Brown, Jason Bass, Brad Hey, Harry Carter, Jack Blagbrough and another loanee, Tyler Dupree.

Widnes boss Kieron Purtill made three changes to the side that lost 36-22 to Leigh, with Joe Lyons, fit-again top scorer Ryan Ince and Sam Freeman, scorer of four tries in the Challenge Cup meeting between the sides here in April, all in.

Aussie dangerman Anthony Gelling, such a threat in the Vikings’ Cup win, was out injured, but Kiwi star Harrison Hansen and half-back Danny Craven, both sidelined for the reverse fixture at Bootham Crescent in April, were involved.

The Knights began with howlers at either end to trail 6-0.

Widnes won a penalty then a dropout to build early pressure and when Robinson was caught in goal from the next kick he inexplicably threw the ball forward, handing a simple touchdown for Lloyd Roby. Freeman converted.

York, with Vaivai giving early sign of his threat on the edges, looked dangerous in possession – and they should have equalised as some excellent passing gave Liam Salter chance to send Perry Whiteley in at the corner. But the winger inexplicably spilled the pass with the line begging.

They had another great chance when Harris – already looking more dangerous at half-back than full-back – broke through. He had Tim Spears in support but gave the pass too early and speedy home full-back Freeman scampered back to tackle.

Those bloopers and that miss out of the way, York struck back, and it was Harris again.

The Hull loane dummied through once more and this time played an effective one-two with Spears to score by the sticks, Robinson converting.

This was an open, entertaining game - both sides forcing dropouts with good kick chases, Brining just being denied at the try-line for York - with the only surprise being it took 29 minutes for the next try to come.

Again it came courtesy of a York blooper.

Oakes ran sideways in his own 20 and, realising the touchline was getting closer, let go a pass that Vaivai neither wanted nor expected. The American international merely swatted it to ground and Joe Lyons picked up and beat the desperate recovery tackle.

York – and Vaivai – quickly struck back out of nothing.

A penalty gave them a platform but they seemed to be going nowhere in a disjointed set until Robinson fed the centre in the danger-zone. Little still looked on, but the 29-year-old came up with a very, very powerful finish.

At 10-10 entering the second period, it was anybody’s game – and it was Widnes’ turn to miss a sitter, Keanan Brand having a clear run-in only to lose his footing. He still had time to give winger Owen Buckley a scoring pass but it was forward.

Scott had been put on report in the first half for a foul on Craven and got away with an apparent flop on Buckley 10 minutes into the second.

Two free-kicks did soon follow, however, and Freeman eked the Vikings 12-10 up with the second.

Another foul by Scott, followed by a dropout, followed by a knock-on under a kick, brought more pressure.

But, with York’s goal-line defence back to its very best, Widnes were twice held up over the whitewash and twice held inches short, and then somehow a combination of Whiteley and Brining got underneath Brand when the centre looked sure to touch down.

A Vaivai roughhouse tackle forced a fumble from Freeman too.

Indeed, while York had handed Widnes two tries on a plate in the first half, they did the opposite in the second period, smashing players and plates to deny them the spoils.

They still struggled to get out of their own half or enjoy much possession, and the heavy defending looked sure to take its toll.

But then came an attack led initially by Jack Teanby’s charge onto a Horne pass. York passed up the chance to equalise via a penalty – but boy did that decision pay off as Vaivai put Oakes in.

Widnes, by hook or crook, built further pressure as they sought to hit back.

Hep Cahill looked sure to score but was halted inches short, then a knock-on from a kick denied the Vikings again.

York finally went upfield again and forced a dropout. However, they were immediately back on the defensive as the wily Craven caught them sleeping with a short dropout and regather.

Still the drama continued.

The excellent Liam Salter scampered away and had Whiteley flying up on his inside – but again what could have been a scoring pass went to ground.

Then more drama.

Whiteley at the other end gathered the ball in goal and smashed into Lyons in trying to escape. He did get over the line, but Lyons stole the ball. Lyons then rolled back over the try-line to seemingly score the winner – but knocked on.

Instead, with the noisy travelling support in barmy land, the away team stoically saw out the rest of the game for yet another stunning win in a hitherto stunning season.