YORK City Knights’ efforts to finish fourth in the League One regular season continued to pay dividends as they overcame a gutsy Workington 28-18 at Bootham Crescent to stay on course for the play-offs.

That fourth place garnered one more home game in these Super 8s, and, after stunning Toronto in the opener a fortnight ago, they made the most of home advantage again to see off a Cumbrian outfit who were much-improved on their previous visit here only last month, when they were sent packing 34-0.

It was an important victory, too, in the race for top five, following the late defeat at Keighley last week – although the fact Cougars drew with leaders Toronto today York’s defeat there maybe wasn’t as bad as thought.

It also came despite some enforced changes, and key injuries in either half to scrum-half Harry Tyson-Wilson and centre James Haynes which forced head coach James Ford to shift and shuffle his men throughout.

Ford had made four changes in personnel to the side that lost at Keighley – including two debutants.

Former Warrington prop Jordan Cox, a surprising omission since his deadline-day arrival, made his debut in the second row, in place of the injured Zeus Silk.

Cox erred for Town’s first try but thereafter made two and scored one.

On-loan Hull youngster Ross Osborne likewise came in for his bow, as a replacement prop, in place of Ronan Dixon.

He made his mark in style – a bulldozing 35-metre run with his first touch creating a try. He seems to enjoy running into people very hard.

Ben Dent also came onto the wing for his first outing since April - Tommy Saxton having joined Dee Foggin-Johnston on the treatment table - and his super catch under a swirling bomb during a period of pressure was vital for the victory.

Haynes, below-par back at full-back last week, reverted to centre in place of the crocked Jake Butler-Fleming, and this meant that, with Ash Robson’s six-match ban being upheld this week, Liam Harris – quiet for once at stand-off at Cougar Park – went to full-back.

Tyson-Wilson partnered Connor Robinson in the halves, but departed after 15 minutes, Robinson left to prompt and probe as the sole half-back thereafter, with assistance from Harris.

Workington were hammered 68-0 by Toronto last week – the Wolfpack bouncing back as expected from their humbling by York seven days earlier.

Town boss Dave Clark made a couple of positional switches but only three in personnel.

Out went packmen Gordon Maudling, a late withdrawal, Alex Szostak and Kyle Shelford, and in came fit-again stand-off Carl Forber, long-serving centre Jason Mossop and loose-forward Perry Singleton.

York were ahead on nine minutes after visiting winger Phil Lister knocked on in a challenge under a Robinson chip.

With field position set, hooker Andy Ellis dummied in, Robinson converting.

Tyson-Wilson was hauled back inches short as he looked to extend the lead – but that was the scrum-half’s last action and Town soon equalised against the run of play.

Cox dropped the ball near half-way, the visitors hacked it forward and Lister gathered and raced to the corner, Forber goaling. There would be no clean sheet for the Knights this time.

Town so nearly took the lead too.

Joe Hambley beat Dent to a high Jamie Doran kick but he lost his footing as he landed with the try-line in sight, Dent able to scramble back.

York likewise went close from a chip to the far corner, Hambley this time getting away with an apparent knock-on.

But then they did score again, through Ellis again, this time after a wonderful handling move - strapping forward Cox making up for his gaffe by creating it.

His surge and soft hands got Harris away and Ellis was on his inside, Robinson goaling.

Town threatened again after a fortunate penalty but the home defence held out – and then increased their lead.

Big prop Osborne laid the platform on his introduction with that 35-metre run, running over players like a steamroller over daisies, before winning a penalty at the play-the-ball close to the sticks.

From it, Harris gave Cox the chance to finish well.

Nev Morrison’s break out of defence helped set up the next attacking opportunity, Joe Porter going close, before a penalty near the sticks saw Robinson eke up the interval lead to 18-6.

They were a little fortunate it stayed that way after a cheap turnover in their next set – Town sub Conor Fitzsimmons having a try disallowed on the hooter for a forward pass by sub hooker Callum Phillips.

Luck changed on the resumption as Workington were awarded two bizarre penalties – one for reefing when the Town player still had the ball, held up over the try-line.

From it, Macauley Davies fought over, Forber goaling.

York went two scores up again within five minutes, after Porter made great ground following a Town spill in centrefield.

The ball was spun right where Cox again created the chance with an offload out of nowhere, Haynes following suit with a backdoor pass for winger Morrison to cross.

York won the game, though, with 10 minutes of stoic goal-line defence in the face of curious officiating.

A high tackle by Porter on dangerman Tee Ritson started the siege, and it continued after referee Bennett bizarrely awarded a knock-on against Haynes while also putting the tackle that injured him on report, the York man having to be helped off.

The Knights held out and forced the error – only for Bennett to bizarrely give Town another scrum.

The cheers when York held out again were deafening.

They so nearly upped their lead, too, after a Robinson kick bounced horribly. Dent patted it to Brad Hey, who looked to send Jubb home – the hooker by now filling in in the back row – only for Danyal Rasool to get back and intercept.

Ironically, the try that sealed victory came from an intercept – Doran’s poor pass being read by Robinson, who had an easy 40-metre run-in and conversion to make it 28-12.

Doran created a quick riposte – his break leaving the defence stretched, good passing giving winger Hambley an easy finish, Forber again goaling.

But York saw out the last 13 minutes with aplomb.